HP Pushes 'Always On' Vision

SAN MATEO (06/14/2000) - In an announcement that Hewlett-Packard Co. officials billed as the first evidence of CEO Carly Fiorina's vision of an "Always On" business computing environment, the company on Wednesday unveiled a variety of PC products and tools aimed at corporate customers.

"These products support what Carly has been saying over the last few months," said Marc Jourlait, director of marketing for North American business PCs.

The six new HP products include the following:

-- The HP Vectra VL400 PC, which HP describes as "a standard corporate PC architecture with three easily interchangeable form factors."

-- The HP NetServer Ultra3 SCSI storage solution, which has data transfer rates of up to 160MBps and automatically knows at which speed to transmit data over mixed Ultra2 and Ultra3 SCSI drives, officials said.

-- HP's TopTools 5.0, which manages from a single common interface a wide range of HP hardware, including HP NetServer systems, OmniBook notebook PCs, Kayak workstations, ProCurve hubs and switches, and JetDirect print servers.

-- HP e-configure, a tool that provides customized quotes that reflect budget restrictions and project timetables for deploying HP products.

-- HP Instant Support, an array of technical support services backed by 24-hour HP assistance.

-- The HP OmniBook 6000 notebook PC, upgraded with new integrated communications and wireless support and a modular bay with a wide offering of accessories.

Over the last several months, the high-profile Fiorina has made numerous appearances where she has reiterated the Always On vision of an Internet-linked world. Her topics have ranged from a printer-centric Internet business "eco-system," involving business partners such as FedEx and Stamps.com, to the most recent announcement about a deal between HP and online retail magnate Amazon.com.

However, Jourlait said that Wednesday's massive product announcement is only the beginning.

"It is the first step, pulling together these pieces," Jourlait said. "But it is certainly not the end thrust of Carly's Always On infrastructure."

Hewlett-Packard Co., based in Palo Alto, California, is at www.hp.com.

Dan Neel is an InfoWorld reporter.

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