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HP's hues, they are a changin'

Silver and white meet with consumer tastes for lighter colors, PC maker says of new Pavilion design. Photos: HP desktops see the light

Hewlett-Packard is making over its Pavilion PCs to better blend in outside the den.

The computer giant on Tuesday unveiled a silver-and-white design for its Pavilion desktops. Featuring a silver case and a white insert, the new design replaces a metallic-blue case with a navy blue insert. It will initially come on three models.

HP's new look

HP says it's doing away with the darker colors to appeal to consumers' tastes, which, these days, lean toward lighter shades. The changes also allow the PCs to better blend into the more visible areas of people's homes, such as living rooms, where televisions and other silvery electronics gear already exist.

The changes support efforts by HP to market its PCs to so-called digital homes, in which consumers use PCs to play, store and share multimedia files such as music or movies with other devices.

Silver-colored accessories such as flat-panel monitors will be available to match HP's new look, and over time, HP Pavilion notebooks and printers will also morph to match.

To further promote its image as a maker of multimedia machines, HP will ship its new Media Center m7000 Series PhotoSmart PC with a dock for Apple Computer iPod music players. The iPod dock, which sits on top of the PC, lets the player charge its batteries and synchronize with the PC. The company, which sells an HP-branded version of the iPod, will also ship a digital-camera dock with the m7000 PC, a company spokesperson said.

"We didn't do it because Apple did it. We did it because our customers told us that they liked it."
--Tom Anderson
vice president of marketing, global consumer PCs

While development and testing costs make rolling out a new industrial design an expensive endeavor, HP does it about every two years. Looks still help sell PCs, said Tom Anderson, vice president of marketing for the Consumer PC Global Business Unit at Hewlett-Packard, and the company has to keep up with changing tastes.

Some might see at least a hint of a resemblance to Apple Computer's recent computer color schemes in the latest HP designs. But Anderson said HP wouldn't have made the changes unless customers preferred the new palate.

"We got a very warm reception for this" from customers who previewed the design, he said. "We didn't do it because Apple did it. We did it because our customers told us that they liked it."

HP has already begun advertising one of three new Pavilion models, the a1000 Series, via its HPShopping Web site. It was not possible to order one from the site on Tuesday, however.

The Pavilion a1000 and the HP Media Center m7000 Series Photosmart PC, a high-end multimedia PC, are scheduled to go on sale on direct to consumers and at retail next month, HP said in a statement.

A third model, the HP Pavilion d4000, will go on sale direct to customers in May, the statement said.

While the exterior of HP's Pavilion desktop is changing, the innards will remain the same. HP will continue to offer both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices processors, as well as a range of hard-drive and optical-drive options.

Prices on the PCs will start as low as $379, after rebates, when purchased directly from HP. Retail models will start at about $499 after rebates, HP said in a statement.