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New HP offers peek at product plans

Ahead of the unveiling of the new Hewlett-Packard, the company tells customers in a letter that it is "eager" to prove itself and confirms more details about its product strategy.

Ahead of the official unveiling of the new Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday, the company told customers in a letter that it was "eager" to prove itself and confirmed more details about its product strategy.

Chart: The new HP
Which product lines will survive?

HP posted the new product details on its Web site in advance of a conference call with customers, analysts and the press.

"Now, we're eager to prove we can seize the moment and lead the change in our industry. Most important, we're eager to demonstrate that our passion for customers is stronger than ever," Carly Fiorina, HP's new CEO, and Michael Capellas, the company's new president, said in the letter. "We would like to thank you for standing by us through this important journey. We do not take your loyalty for granted. We look forward to proving ourselves."

The new details are contained in a series of fact sheets about HP's new business groups. Some of the details have already been revealed by the company, but others, concerning HP's use of products and services from Compaq Computer, have not.

For example, HP will become the company's overall brand name and will be used for all products and services, the company has said. Its four main product groups will be the Enterprise Systems Group, the Imaging and Printing Group, the HP Services group and the Personal Systems Group.

But the fact sheets reveal several exceptions to this rule regarding PCs, servers, handheld devices and even operating systems.

The company's new Personal Systems Group, run by HP's Duane Zitzner, will sell commercial PCs under the Compaq brand. This exception was widely expected but until now had not been confirmed by the company.

Furthermore, as previously reported by CNET News.com, the company will keep both HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario consumer desktop PC lines. It will also keep both consumer notebook lines, which carry the same brand names.

"Since demand for both the HP and Compaq brand of consumer PCs is strong, HP will continue to offer both product lines," the site states.

HP could not immediately be reached for comment.

While it will keep only the Compaq brand for commercial PCs and notebooks, HP has not yet said if it will continue to use Compaq's Evo sub-brand, as is widely expected by many resellers.

The company will ease customers into the new machines, migrating to Compaq PC designs over the next nine to 12 months while phasing out HP designs.

HP's Omnibook notebooks will be offered through the end of the year, while Vectra PCs will be phased out based on their own individual product plans, HP said.

The company will keep one of its own HP-branded commercial PC lines, however: the e-PC.

The new HP will also do away with Compaq workstations. The company will instead offer HP workstations using Intel and HP's own PA-RISC processors.

Compaq's popular iPaq PDA will also carry over, but with a new name. The device will be called the HP iPaq Pocket PC.

HP will add technology from its Jornada Pocket PC handheld to future versions of the iPaq. The Jornada will be phased out by the end of the year, the company said.

Home-networking equipment, including wireless networks and related hardware, will carry the HP brand.

As for the new company's Enterprise Systems Group, it will maintain Compaq's ProLiant server brand. The ProLiant brand name will, however, be renamed HP ProLiant. The group "is dedicated to delivering on the ProLiant roadmap and to working with its partners to create industry-defining technologies based on unifying open standards," the site states.

HP will keep Compaq's ProLiant industry-standard server products instead of its own Netserver product line. Industry-standard servers use Intel hardware and Microsoft Windows or Linux.

But the company plans to use its own product line for forthcoming 64-bit, Itanium 2-based servers, augmenting the machines with Compaq technology.

HP and Compaq blade servers will coexist as well. The company will market the servers created by Compaq as ProLiant blade servers for general use, while HP's existing blade servers will be aimed specifically at the telecommunications market.

When it comes to its big iron servers, HP will offer both AlphaServer and HP PA-RISC Unix servers, based on the Alpha and PA-RISC processor architectures and HP-Unix. HP-Unix will become the prevailing OS, but it will incorporate elements of Compaq's Tru64 Unix over time.

Meanwhile, HP will offer Compaq's NonStop fault-tolerant servers unchanged under the new HP NonStop Server brand.

HP will also continue to market its imaging products, such as its InkJet printers, almost unchanged, with two exceptions: It will phase out Compaq's printers and combine, over the next 12 months, its own and Compaq's digital projector lines. The resulting projectors will be branded as HP projectors.