Wednesday, September 05, 2007

See it, scan it, save it: The HP Compaq 2710p

A webcam embedded above a notebook screen is nothing new. We've seen it in numerous portables, including the popular Macbooks from Apple Computer. A notebook that converts to a touch-screen tablet is not a new concept either.

But a light, travel-friendly, convertible notebook with solid-state data storage and an optional webcam that can scan a business card, recognize the text and import the data into your contact-management software? Now that's different!

The HP Compaq 2710p notebook was among the many new products highlighted by Hewlett-Packard Wednesday night at a well-attended press event in New York City.

The svelte HP Compaq 2710p has a 12.1-inch display, is 1.1 inches thick and weighs 3.6 pounds. Next to the webcam, which of course is also good for videoconferencing, is a pop-out night light which illuminates the keyboard. It's a small, but welcome feature if you spend long nights in darkened airliners. Rotate the screen and close it down on top of the keyboard and you have a touch-screen Tablet PC with all of the electronic-ink features you would expect, including handwriting recognition.

The unit, introduced earlier this year, can now be had with a new feature: A 64-gigabyte solid-state storage drive instead of a conventional spinning hard disk. The drive uses flash memory, which can store and retrieve data far faster than a standard hard disk. Since it has no moving parts, it's less susceptible to hard knocks. It's also quieter. Flash memory doesn't require power to keep data. Thus your information is safe when you turn the notebook off.

The unit uses an Intel Corp. Core Duo Ultra Low Voltage processor and a Mobile Intel GMA X3100 graphics chipset. It also comes with encryption software so you can protect your data from snoops as well as body hardware designed to be durable.

The HP event, entitled, "Your Life is the Show," was notable for the celebrities who stopped by, including tennis ace Serena Williams who made a premature exit from the U.S. Open tennis tournament across town just a day earlier, and the strong-armed, tough-talking Teutul men (Paul Sr., pictured at left; Paul Jr. and Mikey) from the popular "American Chopper" cable TV show.

Also shown at the event was the ultra slim HP Compaq dc7800 Business Desktop PC, which is small enough to hide behind a flat-panel monitor. When used with optional hardware, the unit can be mounted behind a 17- or 19-inch HP monitor where it ends up off of your desk, thus freeing up some valuable tabletop real estate.

"It's a petite, powerful computer," said Kevin Frost, HP's vice president and general manager for business desktops.

Also introduced was a raft of other new home and business products, including the Blackbird 002, a new musclebound gaming machine born out of HP's acquisition of Voodoo PC last year. The liquid-cooled Blackbird 002 offers a tool-free internal design which makes it easy to upgrade components such as the hard disks without reaching for your tool box. Also shown off was a new lineup of iPaq handheld computers, some with built in GPS navigation.

© Text and photo of Paul Teutul Sr. Copyright 2007 Stadium Circle Features.
Product photos courtesy of Hewlett-Packard.