First came Intel Ultrabooks, now Hewlett-Packard is trying to latch onto the name Sleekbooks with new AMD powered devices that look like a ripoff of the Apple MacBook Air design.It also appears that the struggling PC Company, who this time last year told the market that they were getting out of the PC market, is trying to get a ride off the millions that Intel are pouring into marketing for their Ultrabooks by using the name Sleekbooks for a range of notebooks. The struggling Company claims are lighter than Ultrabooks and use chips from Intel arch rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
At a launch in China yesterday, HP spent part of their time defending their new notebook range from claims that their Sleekbook design was more Apple than HP.
Vice President of Industrial Design Stacy Wolff said that instead of doing the design work inhouse similar to Apple does, HP had hired external consultants to contribute to the design process a strategy that is also adopted by Sony who are also struggling in the PC market up against a surging Apple.
One journalist was diplomatic when she said to a HP executive that the brand-spanking-new Envy Spectre XT reminded her of the MacBook Air a lot, so she wondered if HP ever worried that Apple might sue.
An answer was not forthcoming.
One journalist asked whether HP was taking advantage of the similarity between the word Ultrabooks and Sleekbooks merely to promote a competitor to Intel’s processor offering.
Again HP did not answer the question.
HP is stressing that the AMD powered models are less than half the price of some other Ultrabooks on the market, and significantly less than the starting price for Apple’s MacBook Air.
A new 14-inch Envy Sleekbook will ship shortly in Australia, and a low cost 15.6-inch model running AMD processors is set to follow.
HP also announced the SpectreXT: is 13.3 inch ultrabook that weighs just 1.4 kilogram, is 14.5mm thick, and has an all-metal body. It comes with an Intel Ivy Bridge processor and, like the Spectre 14, claims a long battery life of up to eight hours .
A review by the New York Times found that the device only delivered five hours of battery life with programs running, power-savers turned off, and display set to full brightness.
A neat inclusion in the The Envy SpectreXT is the use of Beats Audio technology. The ultrabook also has an Ethernet port in addition to a USB port, and comes with several software packages including software from Adobe that is designed to lure consumers into their expensive new Adobe Creative Suite subscription service.
HP also introduced larger 14-inch and 15.6-inch ultrabooks, also with Intel’s latest processors. The laptops are, at their thickest, 19.8 millimeters and come with a choice of solid-state or hybrid hard-disk drives.