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HP introduces color iPods for spring

Company debuts color screen iPods, matching Apple's prices on 30GB and 60GB photo models.

Hewlett-Packard got its iPods back in tune on Tuesday, introducing color screen models that match Apple Computer's current line.

HP is offering a 30GB photo iPod for $349 and a 60GB version for $449, matching the prices Apple charges for the same models. HP said it will continue to sell its 20GB black-and-white screen model for $299, again keeping it in the same position as Apple.

The company had pledged last month to update its iPod line, which had become out of step as Apple introduced cheaper, photo-capable models. Analysts had been calling on HP to get up-to-date or risk losing the value of its iPod reseller arrangement.

In January, then-CEO Carly Fiorina had said that HP planned to introduce an HP-branded iPod Photo. However, months went by without an announcement, prompting criticism from analysts.

"HP's iPod sales are likely to decline markedly over the next few quarters unless HP is able to bring out new iPod models in a more timely manner," Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey said in a March research note. Bailey also expressed worry that HP has focused on white iPods, as opposed to the "faster-growing iPod Mini and iPod Shuffle segments."

The company has been trying to do more to play up its association with the iPod. The company added a spot on the top of its latest Media Center PC to hold an iPod and dock. The company also touts its line of "tattoos," or printable covers for the iPod, as well as the ability to print photos from Windows-formatted iPods using HP's portable Photosmart 375 printers.

An HP representative said the color screen iPods will be available at its Web site in about a week and in stores shortly thereafter.