x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Computer makers go for slim pickings

The Life: Hewlett-Packard is pushing its latest thin and light "ultrabook" - the Envy Spectre XT. But it looks very similar to another computer that is already in stores.

The new Hewlett-Packard Spectre XT. Jonathan Browning for The National
The new Hewlett-Packard Spectre XT. Jonathan Browning for The National

Technology manufacturers are aggressively pushing shiny new computers that are thin and light - but not tablets.

So-called ultrabooks have been marketed by companies such as IBM, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard (HP) but the reception among consumers has been lukewarm thus far. One reason is that many models hit stores last year at about the US$999 (Dh3,669) price point.

That is not stopping them from trying again, though.

This month, HP unveiled its Envy Spectre XT ultrabook in what will be its latest foray in this corner of the market. The laptop is as thin as 14.5mm and weighs 1.4kg.

Yet many journalists and analysts who saw it debut during an expositionin Shanghai could not help but notice its resemblance to another computer that has already long been in stores: Apple's MacBook Air model.

"Designers tend to be influenced by a lot of things," says Eric Cador, HP's senior vice president of printing and personal systems for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"They may be influenced by materials, by trends, by shapes.

"The idea was not to copy anything, but I'm sure [HP designers] get influence by the fashion trends," he says.

And fashionable the Spectre XT is.

It is slim enough to slip into a large purse or briefcase HP says it is designed to go wherever customers need it, from the bistro to the boardroom, which is easy to do with one hand.

Even better, the battery lasts eight hours. Actually, make that "up to" eight hours, which means you will still want to keep a charging cord handy just in case.

HP's new line of ultrabooks are expected to cost from about $699.

But keep an eye out for other manufacturers to debut their own ultrabooks ahead of likely releases during the third and fourth quarter this year.


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