HP's New Desktop PCs, Retail, Print Services Aimed at Enterprises

Hewlett-Packard introduced a line of new desktop PCs bundled with services aimed at encouraging enterprises to junk the aged Windows XP machines.

Hewlett-Packard, working to recover from management chaos and a changing technology marketplace, has introduced a series of retail, desktop and print services products at its annual HP Discover conference.

The introductions were less about the individual products and more about trying to position HP as a full-service enterprise provider offering products, services and financing to span the enterprise.

Todd Bradley, HP’s executive vice president of the company’s $28 billion printing and personal systems group (and someone whose name came up in the rumor mill on at least two of HP’s CEO searches), outlined three areas which he contends “defined a new style of IT.”

Those areas, mobility, cloud and productivity, are not startling in their originality, but remain overall goals for enterprise companies that are still largely out of reach. One of the big differences is that customers are now driving the user device selection rather than waiting for corporate IT to make the decisions for them.

Creating enthusiasm for printers and desktop computers would seem a formidable task in an era when documents are being read more and more frequently on tablets and smartphones and the lackluster uptake on Windows 8 has battered the desktop market. However, as HP execs pointed out, desktops remain in frequent use in corporations and document management as well as printer security remain corporate priorities.

HP is bundling its energies in attempting to become the go-to source for companies being largely forced to leave the Windows XP environment as Microsoft drops support for this still-prevalent operating system in 2014. The company’s upcoming “Goodbye XP, Hello HP,” was described as a “great opportunity for us,” said HP SVP Enrique Lores. HP will provide the support and financing service to ease the transition, he said.

Lores seemed just as enthusiastic about encouraging customers to make the transition from XP to Windows 7 as he was championing the newer Windows 8 operating system. He mentioned Windows 7 twice as he discussed the goodbye XP campaign.

The products introduced by HP included the HP Retail Jacket for ElitePad. This is a retail tablet with a thicker-than-usual case to accommodate a second battery based on Intel’s Atom processor and Windows 8 Pro. The idea is to provide retail store personnel with a mobile platform to complete sales transactions.

It also announced a series of All-in-One and desktop PCs. According to HP these systems are priced as follows: “Pricing for the HP EliteOne G1 800 touch-enabled AiO starts at $1,299 and the HP EliteOne G1 800 AiO starts at $1,099, while pricing for the HP EliteDesk 800 series starts at $815. “Pricing for the HP ProOne 600 series starts at $999 and the ProDesk 600 G1 series starts at $760”

The company has introduced a mixed asset recovery (MARS) financing program aimed at making it easier for customers to dispose of older systems. The MARS program was one of the more innovative aspects of the desktop computer announcements.

In the printing area, HP announced a product to integrate with Salesforce.com for printing customer materials, an ePrint 2.2 application for improved mobile printing and additional security along with an extension of its managed print services programs for resellers and VARs wanting to reach the SMB market.

HP’s Discover program continues in Las Vegas through June 12 and is going to include a keynote by HP CEO Meg Whitman. The printer and personal computer announcements were probably the least of the big announcement expected from HP this week in the areas of mobility, big data and cloud services.

However, the number of enterprise that will indeed need to move off of Windows XP is substantial and HP is being clever in not leaving behind a customer base looking for help in catching up with the present before moving on to the future. The mobility, cloud and productivity themes will resonate well with corporate technologists looking to embrace those themes while at the same time finally tossing the old, but often reliable, XP systems.

Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor-in-chief at eWEEK (previously PC WEEK) from 1996-2008 authored this article for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this article. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this article and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.