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HP introduces $849 business PC

HP continues its aggressive push into the market for sub-$1,000 business PCs.

Hewlett-Packard (HWP) continued its aggressive push into the market for sub-$1,000 business PCs, announcing an $849 system.

HP's Brio 8211 incorporates an Intel 200-MHz Pentium MMX processor, a 2.1GB hard drive, and 16MB of memory for a price that's $150 cheaper than its previous low-end offering, which came with a slower 166-MHz Pentium MMX chip.

Capitalizing on today's debut of the speediest Intel chip yet, the "Deschutes" Pentium II running at 333 MHz (see related story), HP also introduced Pentium II Brio models at low price points, including a 233-MHz version for $1,229, or $1,499 with monitor.

HP has been less aggressive than front-running Compaq in the consumer end of the sub-$1,000 market--a market that grew from less than 10 to more a little more than 40 percent of all PC sales during 1997--but very attentive to the business side of the low-cost equation. In April 1997, HP became was one of the first vendors to enter the business end, offering a Vectra 500 Series PC with an Advanced Micro Devices K5 processor starting at $975.

Then, in late September, HP started offering a low-cost complement to its corporate Vectra series. The Brio, intended for businesses with less than 100 employees, includes different software bundles and hardware configurations, such as diagnostic software for helping computer novices fix problems.

Amid growing sales, HP increased its share of PCs sold to businesses to 8.1 from 6.7 percent in 1997, according to preliminary figures from Computer Intelligence.