Following the $1.2 billion acquisition for Palm, many believed Hewlett Packard (HP) was looking for a fast-track way into the mobile device market, but that isn't the case, says HP CEO Mark Hurd.
"We didn't buy Palm to be in the smartphone business, Hurd said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch technology conference earlier this week. "And I tell people that, but it doesn't seem to resonate well. We bought it for the IP. The WebOS is one of the two ground-up pieces of software that is built as a Web operating environment...We have tens of millions of HP small form factor Web-connected devices...Now imagine that being a Web-connected environment where now you can get a common look and feel and a common set of services laid against that environment. That is a very value proposition."
Hurd's comments certainly are in line with what HP has been crowing about ever since it purchased Palm, which is the IP portfolio. And while smartphones might not be on the agenda, HP did recently say that it plans on building a tablet around the newly acquired mobile OS.
We fully grasp that, as a human race, we're intelligent enough to devise a way for cow pies to be used to power a data center, but what we really want to know is how anyone in HP's ranks kept a straight face while discussing the "manure output of cows." Not only did HP talk about this internally, but the company went and drew up an entire game plan, and who knows, that smell seeping in through your car windows as you drive down the interstate might be coming for a new data center.
"The idea of using animal waste to generate energy has been around for centuries, with manure being used every day in remote villages to generate heat for cooking. The new idea that we are presenting in this research is to create a symbiotic relationship between farms and the IT ecosystem that can benefit the farm, the data center and the environment," said Tom Christian, principal research scientist, Sustainable IT Ecosystem Lab, HP.
According to HP, 10,000 dairy cows produce enough waste to power a 1 megawatt (MW) data center, which is the equivalent of a medium-sized data center, and still have power left over to support other needs on the farm. And get this - the heat generated by the data center can be used to increase the efficiency of the anaerobic digestion of animal waste. Yep, warm manure is just what the IT industry needs.
On very much a related note, did you know that the average dairy cow produces about 120 pounds of manure each day, and about 20 metric tons per year? That's enough to generate 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electrical energy.
This is turning out to be a rough week for Microsoft tablets. First the Courier gets scrapped, leaving many to wonder what might have been of the dual-screen tablet, and now HP is abandoning its much hyped Slate, at least in its current form, according to TechCrunch.
HP hasn't yet made an official announcement, but TechCrunch feels pretty confident its "source who's been briefed on the matter" is right on the money. And really, we half expected something like this anyway. Earlier this week HP announced it had signed a definitive agreement to purchase Palm for $1.2 billion, a deal that brings Palm's webOS into HP's stable. HP was very blunt on where it goes from here, saying it plans on "doubling down on webOS," meaning we could very well be looking at a webOS-based tablet in the near future.
This makes perfect sense if, as TechCrunch's source says, HP isn't satisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet OS. If that's the primary reason, however, then it's a little surprising that HP waited this long to scrap the project. Prior to the cancellation, HP had been focused on drumming up excitement over the Slate, posting teaser video clips and talking about all the things the Slate could do, with a particular emphasis on the features Apple's iPad lacks (like Flash, USB, cameras, and expandable storage).
An example for HP is how it’s reducing the costs of running its data centers. Basically, data centers are big buildings crammed full of heat-producing servers. But, these are important heat-producing servers, as they store vital information from any number of other businesses, which HP charges for managing and protecting. Keeping all those servers, and supporting computer equipment cool is a vital and expensive proposition. HP’s solution is a simple one: build data centers where it is cool and windy.
HP’s Wynyard facility, located in Billingham England, is about eight miles inland from the North Sea. Billingham is naturally cool--with temperatures rising above HP’s target temperature of 24C (75 degrees) only 20 hours a year. And the wind off the North Sea is a constant companion. HP captures this cool wind, using eight 2.1-meter (6.9 feet) stainless steel and plastic intake fans. The air is collected in a plenum below the floor of the data center, then pushed up through the floor around the server racks, after which is it exhausted. If it gets too cool inside the facility, the air warmed by the servers is recirculated. This way HP keeps the 360,000-square foot facility’s internal temperature at about 24C.
HP’s design allows it to use only 1 watt of power for cooling and other facility needs for every 1.2 watts used to run its equipment. Using this technology it's estimated that HP will save annually about £2.6 million ($4.16 million) on power at the facility.
Other green tricks HP uses at the Wynyard facility include capturing rainwater, which is then filtered and misted inside to keep the humidity at a required 40 to 60 percent. And lighter color server racks, which reflect more light, and therefore require less internal lighting.
The $600,000 made-to-order rack consists of a 20ft x 8ft x 8ft IT system that's fully enclosed, portable, and ready to run. The frame can hold 10 racks of servers, storage, and switching hardware, along with hookups for air, water, and electrical power throughput as needed, eWeek.com reports.
"There are a lot of companies that don't need anywhere near 22 racks," said Jean Brandau, HP Product Manager. "So this 10-rack POD gives them a good choice."
HP said the price doesn't include IT, so companies will need to set aside separate funds for hardware and software. However, the OEM said it can build a POD to request and have it tested and running for workloads in about six weeks.
As the marketplace is pushing for smaller and smaller, Hewlett-Packard (HP) is bucking the trend with bigger. HP recently demonstrated a new design, which it has dubbed the “wall of touch”, built with up to nine 43-inch to 46-inch, 1.5-inch thick LCDs with 1080p resolution. It behaves like a really big TouchSmart computer.
The “wall of touch” is driven by a Z800 workstation, employs a standard touchscreen interface, as well as a gesture-capture interface. Gestures are picked up by optical cameras and a magnetic strip that detect when a user nears, and the movements of the user's hands.
The “wall of touch” is basically a really big TV. HP says the system can access cable and satellite, as well as download and stream media. It connects to social networking sites. And it plays DVDs and DVRs.
HP plans to make the “wall of touch” a mainstream product. HP says it will be available to consumers in 2011. The price tag, depending on options, will range from a couple thousand dollars up to $100,000 or more.
If you are struggling to grasp the exact nature of the partnership, then you are not alone. Apparently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and HP CEO Mark Hurd were so busy raving about their partnership that they forgot to divulge any lucid details. But the information posted on Microsoft Technet does seem to be of some help: “Microsoft and HP will deliver ‘Smart Bundles’ for small and medium businesses. These are a combination of hardware and software, including HP server, storage and networking solutions, coupled with Windows Server Hyper-V and HP Insight software, delivered in a single, cost-effective package.”
The partnership will also provide a lot of impetus to the Windows Azure Platform, “with HP offering services, and Microsoft continuing to include HP hardware for Windows Azure infrastructure.”
Just when you thought that you had seen the last of the iPhone killers another one popped out from nowhere. But the threshold of banality has been reached and, thankfully, people's tolerance of prospective iPhone killers is now close to nil – the Nexus One being the only exception. The stage is now all set for a breathtaking tablet or two to take the limelight away from all other gadgets.
According to the venerable New York Times, Microsoft will try and conquer the vacant stage with a tablet of its own at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, effectively beating Apple to the tablet-announcing punch.
Is it a D’oh or an oops? Whatever it is the folks at Hewlett-Packard (HP) must be a bit red-faced over the incident. It seems that HP’s new face tracking webcam has a bit of a racial bias. It happily tracks faces that are white, but isn’t quite as obliging with faces that are black.
A demonstration HP’s webcam has been posted on YouTube. In the video two co-workers demonstrate the webcam’s little idiosyncrasy. Sure enough, the web camera has no problem tracking “white Wanda’s” face, while refusing to track “black Desi's”. As if that’s not bad enough, Desi confesses to having just bought the same system for Christmas.
Over at the Voodo Blog an HP representative posted: “We are working with our partners to learn more. The technology we use is built on standard algorithms that measure the difference in intensity of contrast between the eyes and the upper cheek and nose. We believe that the camera might have difficulty 'seeing' contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting.”
It’s very likely that HP is right--the algorithms aren’t up to snuff. But, it also imparts a reasonable lesson: be sure your product is ready for primetime before release. It might save you from an awkward YouTube moment.
Gartner, Inc’s gloomy forecast of a 5.6% decline in PC sales for the third quarter of 2009 didn’t quite pan out. Instead, Gartner is reporting a modest 0.5% increase, with 80.9 million units shipped worldwide. Sales were driven by the consumer market, with its insatiable demand for low-priced mobile PCs (i.e., netbooks).
Global leaders were Hewlett-Packard, with a 19.9% share, followed by Acer (15.4%) and Dell (12.8%). Dell was, however, tops in the U.S., with a 26.2% share of the market, followed closely by Hewlett-Packard with 25.7%. Acer finished out the top three with a 13.9% share.
Gartner predicts that the introduction of Windows 7 will have little impact on PC sales for the 4th quarter. According to Gartner’s Mikako Kitagawa: “Recent OS releases have not been a growth driver in the PC market.” But, Windows 7 could be a catalyst for an overdue hardware replacement cycle. Ms. Kitagawa expects some interest in hardware upgrades from consumers and business through the holiday season, and an impact in 2010 as the corporate market begins to react to the release of Windows 7.