Tech Industry

HP small-biz PC at $1,100

Mindful of the sub-$1,000 PC for home users, Hewlett-Packard introduces new entry-level models in its small-business HP Vectra 500 Series.

The $1,100 computer is coming to the small-business market, hot on the heels of the sub-$1,000 PC for home users.

Hewlett-Packard (HWP) today introduced new entry-level models in its HP Vectra 500 Series. Street prices for the models, designed for small businesses without an in-house MIS staff, are expected to start at $1,094.

HP also announced a 56-kbps modem priced at $199 for the Vectra 500 line.

The company underscored its remote technical support for the Vectra line, noting that most small businesses lack a dedicated MIS staff to set up, maintain, and train staff to use PCs.

HP also enhanced other models in the Vectra line, adding Intel Pentium processors with MMX technology, an integrated HP Colorado T3000 3.2GB tape backup drive, more memory, disk drives as large as 3.8GB, and new universal serial bus (USB) ports. The backup drive also is available separately as an HP Vectra 500 Series PC accessory.

Midrange Vectras now come bundled with Microsoft Word, Publisher, and the newest version of Windows 95, which includes NetMeeting data conferencing capabilities and the Internet Explorer 3.0 Web browser.

For high-end models, an AT&T WorldNet Service icon provides one-click registration for AT&T's Internet access service with a free one-month trial.

HP's new low-end models don't have a CD-ROM drive or bundled business productivity software.

One new low-end model is expected to be available March 1, with selling prices starting at $1,094. The HP Vectra 520 5/133 Business desktop will come with 16MB of RAM, 133-MHz Intel Pentium processor, and a 1.2GB hard drive.

The HP Vectra 525MCx 5/200M minitower PC is expected to sell as low as $2,601. Features include 32MB of RAM, Intel Pentium 200-MHz processor with MMX technology, 3.8GB hard drive, 16X CD-ROM drive, a 33.6-kbps data-fax-voice modem, preinstalled Microsoft Word and Publisher, preinstalled DataSafe data backup software, and HP remote support.

HP's new "fast Internet pack" includes a 56-kbps modem based on U.S. Robotics' x2 technology, DataSafe remote backup software, HP software for remote technical support, CompuServe Internet access software, and a modem cable.

The 56-kbps modem, expected to be available in April, is expected to sell for as low as $169 (estimated street price) in the United States, with a $30 discount available to customers who buy the fast Internet pack and certain models in the HP Vectra 500 Series PC before May 30. Prices and availability will vary worldwide.