The major news here is the introduction of an entirely new product, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 family, which HP is touting as the thinnest and lightest business-class notebooks in the industry, and which is targeted mainly at the executive market.
Today at the HP Discover event in Barcelona, HP is announcing enhancements to its notebook line. While the HP EliteBook 1040 – HP’s bellwether product in this space – is being refreshed, the big news is the introduction of an entirely new product, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 family, which HP is touting as the thinnest and lightest business-class notebooks in the industry, and which is targeted mainly at the executive market.
“In the past, there have been tradeoffs for thinner and lighter, which we have been able to overcome here,” said Mike Hockey, worldwide public relations manager for commercial business within HP’s Printing and Personal Systems.
The two models announced are the HP EliteBook 1020 and the HP EliteBook 1020 Special Edition (SE). Both have the same ultra-thin thickness of 15. 7 mm. The difference between them is in the materials. The SE version utilizes a blend of magnesium-lithium alloy and carbon fiber in its materials to achieve a weight of only 1.03 kg (2.27 lbs.) The regular EliteBook 1020 weighs 2.6 lbs.
“The new metals allow us to get to a lighter weight,” said John Groden, Director of Product Development at HP.
While the Elitebook 1040 has had this market to itself as an HP offering, it was losing some sales in the executive ultra-thin and light space to consumer-class offerings from other vendors who sell into this particular market.
“The 1040 is a great device, but there is a part of the market that wants the device to be a little bit smaller, a little bit thinner, a little bit lighter,” Groden said.
“In the ultraportable market, defined as 21 mm and thinner, you are still seeing a lot of growth,” Hockey said. “In the past, this class of product – very thin and designed mainly for executives – was very much a niche product. That has changed, in large part because of new docking products. Competition has also been very active in this space. Toshiba and Sony sell into this market, and have been significant players in the thin and light space, but they don’t have the enterprise features the 1020 family does.”
Groden identified three specific enterprise features that set these products apart from this competition. They have enterprise-class docking. They offer security and manageability features such as certified Trusted Platform Module 1.2/2.06, pre-boot authentication, fingerprint reader, and HP’s Sure Start self-healing BIOS. They also have much higher durability than consumer grade notebooks, being designed to pass military-grade (MIL-STD 810G) testing.
“This is also our first notebook to ship with our new premium keyboard, where the pressure required to impact a key is the same for each key, which was not the case before,” Groden said. Fanless technology and noise reduction software also make it ideal for specific use cases like taking a conference in a hotel lobby.
Both members of the family come in a single 12.5-inch screen size, and support up to 9 hours of battery life.
While the new 1020 family is the highlight of the announcement, HP is also announcing a refresh of its HP EliteBook 1040 line, with the major change being an upgrade in Intel Core processors, from Haswell to the fifth generation Broadwell. The 1040 has a 14 inch screen, compared to the 1020’s 12.5, a thickness of 15.9 mm, compared to 15.7, and a weight of 3.3 lbs, compared to the 2.6/2.27 combo of the 1020 models.
Availability is expected starting in January for the HP EliteBook 700 and 800 Series, February for the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Standard Edition, and April for the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Special Edition. Pricing for all products will be set closer to availability.