Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) fired a shot into the mobile computing space with the impending release of several new 2-in-1 notebooks and Chromebooks, including a new notebook powered by Android. Coming on the heels of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface announcement in May, the news signals the beginning of a war for the hearts, minds (and wallets) of hybrid notebook users.
“Customers have made it clear that they need devices that better adapt to work and play the way they do,” said Mike Nash, vice president, Product Management, Consumer Personal Systems at HP, in a prepared statement. “Today, we are announcing the next generation of laptops and two-in-one PCs, along with a new Chromebook, that combine power, versatility and design for home and on the go.”
While we’ve seen hybrid devices on the market before, the recent announcement of the Surface Pro 3 has firmly placed notebook/tablet hybrids in the spotlight as users gravitate toward the portability of a tablet coupled with the benefits of a full physical keyboard. HP is serving up two similarly designed convertible PCs meant to cater to those wavering between a full notebook and a tablet with the HP ENVY x360 and the HP Pavilion x360, both of which switch quickly between notebook, stand, tent or tablet modes.
The HP ENVY x360 sports a 15.6-inch Full HD touch screen display, while the Pavilion x360 slims down with a 13.3-inch touchscreen, respectively. Both devices easily outmeasure the Surface Pro 3, which features a 12-inch HD display. HP also unveiled details on the HP Split x2, another 13.3-inch display with an optional dual battery system that also converts between tablet and notebook.
For Chromebook users, the latest HP Chromebook comes packed with a respectable 11.6-inch display and not much else, while the HP SlateBook is the company’s true answer to the looming threat of Surface Pro 3. Similar to the specs on Microsoft’s latest offering, the SlateBook is a 14-inch notebook with a full HD touch screen and integration with the Google Play Store. The device also features an NVIDIA Tegra 4 mobile processor and integrated GeForce graphics, making it a powerful competitor in the touch-screen notebook department.
With the Surface Pro 3 scheduled to launch at the end of August for $799, HP has announced it plans to release all of its new offerings by the end of July. The HP ENVY x360 is expected to launch next week with a price tag of $679.99, with the Pavilion x360 slated for availability in mid-July for $599-629.99, depending on the processor. The HP Split x2 is scheduled to hit shelves June 29 for $599, with the HP Chromebook and HP SlateBook landing in July for an MSRP of $279.99 and $429.99, respectively.
It remains to be seen whether HP’s offerings in the hybrid tablet space will measure up to or exceed the specs of the Surface Pro 3, but currently HP’s lineup has Microsoft beat when it comes to sheer pricing. Acer also revealed its own take on the hybrid notebook in April at its NYC Press Event, signaling that the spread of these hybrid devices is not reserved to just Microsoft and HP. If the popularity of hybrid notebooks is truly growing as rapidly as the industry would have us believe, expect a whole lot more 2-in-1 tablets to surface (pun very much intended) throughout the rest of 2014.