The $699 CapShare 910 is essentially a combination portable scanner and LCD screen.
About the size of a portable CD-ROM player, the CapShare can capture and store up to 50 letter-sized documents. The documents can then be transferred to and viewed on handheld devices, PCs, or other information appliances, or viewed on the CapShare's screen itself.
"The HP CapShare 910 appliance gives busy professionals the freedom to share documents from wherever they may be," said HP CEO Lew Platt in a released statement.
While the device functions in a similar fashion as scanners, HP is maintaining that the device will be far superior and easier to use because of new software, said sources. With traditional scanners, users have to comb slowly and meticulously over columns of text or images.
With the new devices, users can take a "freehand" swath over a page of images to capture it. The image is then compressed and stored. Multiple page sweeps can also be performed on documents that are larger than standard pages.
The device grows out of an effort on HP's part to play a greater part in the consumer electronics market in a year when it has been mostly struggling with less-than-expected earnings and significant executive defections. Earlier this year, the company kicked off a major product and advertising campaign centered around home and small-business users.
Platt has also discussed the coming market for information appliances at, among other venues, Internet World. As part of the effort, HP reorganized its internal organization to better approach this market.
Until now, however, HP's efforts have mostly been confined to producing handheld Windows CE devices. The CapShare is the one first to emerge from HP's portable capture and communication operation.