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HP's new phone can turn into a laptop, desktop (pictures)

The HP Elite x3 smartphone comes with two accessories to give users the feel of working on a PC.

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Ben Fox Rubin
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1 of 11 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

HP's newest smartphone

HP has struggled to come out with a smartphone that people want. Taking a new approach this time around, the PC maker plans to sell the new Elite x3 to business customers.

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A vital market

HP keeps trying to break into phones so it can keep pace with people's changing interests. Though PCs were once the main way people satisfied their computing needs, folks are now increasingly spending more time on mobile devices.

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Rugged design

The Elite x3 -- a 6-inch, Windows-based phone -- is built to survive drops, spills and dust, to ensure it doesn't fall apart during business trips.

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A phone, desktop and laptop

To help make the Elite x3 stand out, HP plans to package the device with two accessories: a PC dock and a "mobile extender," which is essentially a laptop that connects to the phone.

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The dock

The PC dock allows the phone to power a big screen and keyboard, so business executives on the go can still get a desktop experience.

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The 'mobile extender'

This accessory is essentially a laptop without any brains inside. The phone connects to it and runs it.

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For working on the go

Like with the PC dock, the mobile extender lets a user get a bigger-screen experience even when traveling.

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Specialized pins

The company also built five pins on the back of the phone, which businesses can use to connect specialized accessories to the device. These add-ons could potentially allow retailers to take payments using the phones or let airline workers scan bags or service parts.

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Time for business

The device caters to business customers by offering added security features including iris recognition; an 8 megapixel front-facing camera for Skype calls; and storage slots that can hold up to 2 terabytes of memory.

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A sales tool

Salesforce also partnered with HP to add its Salesforce1 management tools onto each phone.

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On sale this summer

HP plans to start selling the device this summer in more than 30 countries, but it hasn't offered pricing yet.

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