In a deal first announced in November 2009, the European Commission has notified HP that it will not stand in the way of the company's $2.7 billion bid to acquire 3Com.
"The Commission concluded that the concentration would be unlikely to riase competition concerns," the EC said in a statement, adding that "the merged company would continue to face a number of global and effective competitors, giving customers the choice from a range of alternative providers for switches and routers."
No conditions were attached to the approval, and HP said it expects to close the deal by the end of June. However, China's competition regulator, the Ministry of Commerce, or Mofcom, hasn't yet ruled on the takeover, though the deal doesn't pose much threat to competition in China.
Both companies build networking products and by adding 3Com to its portfolio, HP will increase its position in the core networking space, as well as increase its competition with Cisco Systems.
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.
To say that netbooks have historically been hobbled by Intel’s integrated graphics is to unfairly ignore their slow single-core CPUs, 1GB RAM maximum, miniscule keyboards, and awkward screen resolutions. It’s an unfair assertion, of course—netbooks came into existence to be cheap, portable, low-powered machines. But the definition of netbook has been stretched, to the point where HP’s new Mini 311, while still considered a netbook, has an 11.6-inch 1366x768 screen, Nvidia integrated graphics, a large keyboard, and can support up to 3GB of DDR3 RAM, for less than $500.
At first, the Mini 311 looks a lot like any other 11.6-inch netbook on the market: Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 3 USB ports, and a somewhat squashed keyboard. But the RAM is DDR3/1333, not the typical DDR2/667, and it’s soldered to the mainboard, leaving a SODIMM slot free for an additional 2GB of RAM. The screen has a maximum resolution of 1366x768, significantly better than the standard 1024x600—for one thing, websites and programs built for 1024x768 won’t break. And thanks to the Ion platform, the Mini 311 can display 720p HD video, and output 1080p over the HDMI port—that’s right, a netbook with an HDMI port.
HP announced today that it is shipping a new laptop underneath its G60 laptop line. The HP G62t manages to pack a sweet amount of performance into a well-designed, stylish laptop. It is a wonder why they kept it so quiet.
With a starting price of $599, it has the same styling accents as HP Envy 15 and boasts very reasonable specifications. At the base configuration, it features an Intel Core i3 chip, but can be configured up to a Core i7. It also comes standard with 2GB of memory (free upgrade to 3GB, at the moment), a 160GB hard drive, 15.6-inch LED-backlit display, and a DVD burner. The only signs of mediocrity fall onto the integrated Intel Graphics chip that you cannot upgrade through configuration.
Overall, it features nice style and affordable performance and is a welcome surprise release. Check out or customize your own at the HP site.
Touchscreen PCs haven't really taken off the way, say, touch-capable smartphones, media players, and other handheld gadgets have, and a big reason for that is a lack of power. So it makes sense (and gets us a little excited) that HP would cram a Core i7 chip into its TouchSmart line as part of its new 600 Quad series.
You do have to pay to play, however, with pricing starting off at $1,700. That gets you a 23-inch touchscreen display with an Intel Core i7 720QM quad-core chip racing along at 1.6GHz and 6MB of L2 cache. That also includes 4GB of DDR3-1600 memory, a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive (or 1TB if you're willing to roll with a 5400RPM spindle speed), Nvidia's GeForce GT230M graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, slot-load DVD burner, Wi-Fi, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and other odds and ends.
Some of the more noteworthy upgrade options include an Intel Core i7 820QM quad-core CPU (1.73GHz, 8MB L2 cache), twice the amount of RAM, a 1.5TB 7200RPM for just $50 more, and a Blu-ray player.
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.
Last year, HP impressed us with its MediaSmart EX487 (February 2009), a Windows Home Server that shipped with proprietary software we actually found useful. The EX495, this year’s follow-up, is focused on improving accessibility and addressing user requests. This third-generation Windows Home Server isn’t so much an overhaul of last year’s machine as it is a calculated iteration; the same unassuming case packs significant hardware and software upgrades that are the most compelling reasons yet to adopt the Home Server platform.
First, the hardware in this box looks more like a desktop PC than a bare-bones backup device. Instead of an Atom or Celeron processor, the EX495 is powered by a Pentium Dual Core CPU running at 2.5GHz—an upgrade that speeds up video processing and opens the door to real-time transcoding. Even with the increased horsepower, the machine maintained low power consumption during backups and idle states, and pulled far less than 100W during heavy load.
Acer's never been shy about its plans to become the world's largest PC maker, but as it turns out, gunning for that No. 1 spot, at least in terms of notebook shipments, might be harder than the OEM thought.
In the last quarter of 2009, Acer shipped about 9.5 million notebooks, an impressive number, but not as impressive as the 11.38 million units HP managed to ship out. That gives HP a bit of breathing room after Acer previously closed the gap to 1.05 million units (the narrowest it's ever been) when it shipped 9.91 million units in the third quarter, compared to Acer's 8.86 million.
HP has the North American market to thank for increasing its lead, due mostly to a series of sales promotions during the holiday shopping season, including a sub-$300 mainstream notebook.
Looking ahead, HP expects to ship 44 million notebooks in 2010, while Acer will push its ultra-thin line in an attempt to move beyond its original goal of 40 million units.
IBM attributed its ability to lure customers away to its Migration Factory program introduced four years ago. Since that time, IBM says it's been able help nearly 2,200 companies switch to IBM systems from Sun and HP.
All in all, it's been a good year for IBM. The company managed to increase the revenue generated from Power Systems from competitive displacements of customers in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $200 million, which amounts to more than $600 million in sales from UNIX competitive takeouts for IBM in 2009, the company said.
We know you're anxious to learn all about Apple's upcoming tablet, and you will, but not until tomorrow morning when Steve Jobs plans to announce "a major new product that we're really excited about." So even though it might be pretty poor timing on HP's part, there's a new video making the rounds on the Web in which Phil McKinney, CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group, answers a few questions about his company's upcoming HP Slate.
Most of the video deals with the Slate's background and history, and we learn that HP first began working the tablet concept five years ago "around the concept of an e-reader platform." Based in part on user feedback requesting rich media content, the initial concept evolved into the Slate, McKinney says.
"What we predict is that users are looking for that consolidated device, that one device that they can use really as their ultimate content consumption experience," McKinney explains. "And also we saw this gap in the marketplace north of kind of what a smartphone was and smaller than the netbook and notebook. They wanted something thin and light, but again, allowing them to have that rich media experience."
According to McKinney, the Slate will be every bit as good as the current e-book readers on the market, but also capable of a whole lot more. What he didn't say, however, is what kind of hardware you can expect, though he did describe 2010 as the optimal year for the Slate because of a "perfect storm of innovation" consisting of a convergence of "low cost, low power processors, Win 7 with an operating system that is touch aware, the ability to create these kind of platforms with new kinds of touch technologies and hit that price point."