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January 12, 2021
HP is expanding its Elite Dragonfly commercial laptop line, this time promising to deliver 5G network compatibility. On the eve of this week’s virtual Consumer Electronics (CES) show, HP says it has enhanced its commercial PCs and displays.
HP Elite Wireless Earbuds
The commercial lineup also includes new support services that partners will be able to attach to the new products. Also, for the first time, HP said it will offer its own line of commercial earbuds. HP optimized the Elite Wireless Earbuds for its Elite PC line, but they also connect to iOS and Android devices.
Mike Nash, HP’s chief technologist and VP of customer experience and portfolio strategy, said demand for PCs accelerated last year. Shipments of HP PCs grew 23% in the third quarter, according to IDC’s PC Tracker report. That made HP the No. 2 PC provider behind Lenovo.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on how people work influenced key capabilities added to the new lineup.
HP’s Mike Nash
“Overall, we’ve seen that the PC has become essential for everyone,” Nash said during a briefing with media and analysts. “They keep us connected, productive[ly] learning, cared for and entertained.”
At the high-end of HP’s commercial laptop portfolio are the Elite Dragonfly G2 and Elite Dragonfly Max. The second-generation of HP’s Elite Dragonfly line adds significant enhancements in performance, security and audio and video communications capabilities. An improved keyboard on both models is backlit and is spill resistant.
Here’s our most recent list of new products and services that agents, VARs, MSPs and other partners offer.
Both will become the first HP commercial laptops available with support for 5G wireless services. HP notably made a similar claim at last year’s CES with the launch of the Elite Dragonfly G1. While HP was planning to offer the 5G option last summer, Nash said the company opted to hold off.
“Because of some industry delays around 5G, we made the choice to move our Dragonfly rollout to the G2,” he said.
The Dragonfly G2 configuration with 5G includes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem. HP uses Intel’s XMM 7360 LTE-Advanced Cat 9 modem for those opting for 4G LTE. Similar to the first generation, the Elite Dragonfly G2 weighs 2.2 pounds and sports the same dragonfly blue magnesium body. The Dragonfly G2 is available with the new Intel’s 11th Generation Core processor (Tiger Lake). HP has also added Intel’s vPro option. It now supports double the amount of maximum RAM, for a total of 32 GB.
HP’s Elite Dragonfly G2 uses AI for intrusion detection, context awareness, dynamic audio and automatic filtering of background noise. HP has also introduced its new Sure Shutter, which mechanically shuts off the webcam with a dedicated keyboard command. Also, like the G1, the new G2 has a 13-inch screen with options for FHD, UHD or 1000 nit Sure View Reflect Display.
The new Elite Dragonfly Max has similar specs but offers more enhanced video capabilities. Based on HP’s 13.3-inch 1000 nit Privacy G4 display, it has a 5-megapixel webcam. By comparison, the G1 and G2 have a 1.2 webcam. The Max weighs slightly more (2.4 pounds) and is available in “sparkling black” in addition to dragonfly blue.
Also announced and set to ship next month is the first commercial version of HP’s Folio. The company designed the new 13.5-inch Elite Folio 2-in-1 notebook to function as both an ultra-mobile laptop, tablet and media device. It features a pull-forward design that enables it to transition into tablet and media modes. The Elite Folio is powered with …
… Qualcomm’s system-on-a-chip Snapdragon 8cx compute platform, which can connect to available 5G networks.
Andy Rhodes, GM of HP’s commercial PC group, said the Elite Folio is designed for various usage scenarios.
HP’s Andy Rhodes
“We think about it as taking everything you love about your phone, your tablet and your PC, combining that into this new form factor,” Rhodes said during the media and analyst briefing.
HP also introduced the EliteBook 840 G8 Aero, a 2.5 pound laptop with a 14-inch display, available with Intel 11th Gen Core processors. The new HP Aero is slated to ship in March. HP hasn’t said how much the Folio or Aero will cost.
Partners offering the new commercial laptops can also attach a new support option called HP Smart Support. HP is bringing its Tech Pulse agent technology to the mainstream of its portfolio, according to Rhodes. The agent gathers telemetry and apply artificial intelligence (AI) to help manage the devices. Smart Support aims to make it easier for managed service providers and IT administrators to troubleshoot issues.
“With smart support, what the customer has is that agent that’s always connected to HP,” Rhodes said. “We get the data logs, so we know what’s going on. And we can really, really help sort of resolve issues a lot quicker than we have in the past.”
The company also is adding HP Business Boost to help SMBs manage remote workers.
And, building on its partnership with Tile last year, the new EliteBook 840 G8 Aero comes integrated with Tile sensors. Likewise, HP is embedding Tile into the new Elite Dragonfly G2. Tile sensors and the Tile app let users track the location of their devices if they are lost or stolen.
Read more about:VARs/SIs
Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.
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