Hewlett-Packard Unveils its First 'Ultrabook' Laptop

The Folio is tailored for business and has a battery life of nine hours.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) on Nov. 16 unveiled a lightweight laptop computer to take on Apple's MacBook Air in the hot "Ultrabook" arena.

The HP Folio will be priced at $900 when it hits the market on December 7, less than two months after the California-based technology titan scuttled plans to abandon making personal computers.

HP tailored the Folio for business, making it thin and light with a battery life of as long as nine hours.

The Folio weighs 3.3 pounds and features solid state drives along with 13.3-inch high-definition screens.

"This category of product breaks new ground and will be a likely choice for businesses to offer to employees looking for a more consumer-centric experience," said IDC chief research officer Crawford Del Prete.

"We expect Ultrabooks will re-ignite interest in the small form factor PC category, and by 2015 expect 95 million Ultrabooks will be shipping worldwide annually," the industry analyst said.

Folio laptops will be powered by Windows 7 operating systems, which promise to appeal to the broad array of businesses that rely on Microsoft software.

A model of Folio will be available with a built-in security chip to encrypt and protect email and stored data, according to HP.

HP's new chief executive Meg Whitman, the former chief executive of online auction giant eBay, said in October that the company will keep its PC division and also resume making tablets. Whitman's announcements were a dramatic repudiation of strategic decisions which led to the ouster of her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, after less than a year at the helm of the world's biggest computer maker.

Apotheker, who was fired by HP's board in September, had proposed spinning off the PC unit and stopped production of the TouchPad, HP's rival to Apple's iPad, in a shift towards software and services for businesses.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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