Are the New ProBooks from HP the Death Knell for Netbooks?By Frank Ohlhorst | Print
HP’s new ProBook series of notebook computers pile on the features, without piling on the costs.
Those selling netbook computers may want to reconsider their sales strategy, thanks to HP. The company rolled out a new line of notebook computers aimed at cost-conscious business users, which combine features, performance and low prices together in an attractive package.
Netbook buyers will be most interested in the HP ProBook 4415, which has a list price of $599, but will probably cost significantly less when discounts are applied. The 4415 will come with a 14-inch display, optical drive, webcam and an AMD processor. Along with Windows Vista and Windows XP, HP will offer ProBooks with Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 pre-installed, perhaps lowering costs even further.
HP also bundles in the company’s Professional Innovations suite of hardware and software features, which includes one-button access to e-mail, calendar, tasks and contact information, using HP’s QuickLook 2 software. With QuickLook 2, users can push a black button beside the power button, and within 10 seconds have access to applications and utilities.
also aims to enhance security for the mobile worker with SpareKey, a
utility that helps users recover lost passwords (ensuring password use)
and File Sanitizer and Disc Sanitizer, which uses a Department of
Defense algorithm to permanently delete files, folders and
ProBooks are more than 90 percent recyclable or "recoverable," meaning
the materials can be reused, instead of thrown away. The ProBook line
has an EPEAT silver rating, is Energy Star qualified, doesn’t contain
mercury and can be switched into a low-power mode during periods of
The ProBooks are more than 90 percent recyclable or "recoverable," meaning the materials can be reused, instead of thrown away. The ProBook line has an EPEAT silver rating, is Energy Star qualified, doesn’t contain mercury and can be switched into a low-power mode during periods of inactivity.
Of course, the sweet spot for Netbooks is in the $300 range and users can get quite a bit of functionality for such a small price. The ProBook 4415 is more expensive, larger and heavier than the typical netbook, but can do so much more for a small price premium. If HP can push prices down a little further and perhaps deliver a model with a 12-inch display, then netbook manufacturers ought to start worrying a little more. Until then, netbooks may be safe from HP’s charge into low-cost notebook systems.