HP announces new line of business notebooks

Hewlett-Packard announced a new line of notebook PCs that "merge business functionality with sophisticated design." In other words, a notebook computer that's a bit pricier than some, but gives you what you need for business use.

The HP ProBooks start at $529 and weigh starting at 5.7 pounds and come with:
• Windows Vista Business 32, Home Basic 32 and Home Premium 32
• Intel Core 2 Duo or Celeron Dual-Core processors
• Full-sized, raised-key keyboard (i.e., a separate numeric keypad, plus a touchpad with scroll zone)
• A 14-, 15.6- and 17.3-inch diagonal LED-backlit (HD) displays
• Optional integrated Bluetooth

Taking a cue from the L.L. Bean catalog, perhaps, the colors "merlot" and "glossy noir." HP says the raised keys on the keyboard make it easier to clean it.

Some of the ProBooks will have Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 pre-installed, giving users an option besides Windows. And some will have HP Mobile Broadband for wireless connectivity.

The HP QuickLook 2 software includes e-mail, calendar, task managers and address books; security includes the ability to use fingerprints, smart cards and passwords for up to five users, as well as the HP Spare Key, which asks you three questions to let you gain access to your system in case you forget your passwords.

The ProBook series was designed to be recycleable and is Energy Star qualified. More than 90 percent of the units (by weight) can be recycled or "recovered," (i.e., reused in some form).

The HP USB 2.0 Docking Station, $139, is compatible with the ProBooks and allows users to connect their keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer and other accessories in one spot.