Gadget Watch: HP Envy 14 PC has smart-tag sensor

Jan 11, 2012 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer
Hewlet Packard displays the Envy 14 Spectre ultrabook in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

(AP) -- Thin, light laptops -known as "ultrabooks"- are a much-hyped category at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show, an annual showcase for the latest smartphones, tablet computers and other consumer-electronic devices.

Deep-pocketed chipmaker . created the term to push PC makers to make laptops that are more like Apple's Air, and help them market them. Practically every PC maker is showing off at least one ultrabook at the show. Hewlett-Packard Co. is talking up its own ultrabook, dubbed the HP Envy 14 Spectre, this week. The HP model has a few features that set it apart.

WHY IT'S HOT: HP's Envy includes a sensor for Near-Field Communications, the radio standard used by security cards and so-called "smart tags," which are small chips with flat, stamp-sized . That means that it can read information from NFC tags and upcoming smartphone models when they're bumped against the laptop. For instance, a promotional flyer might include a tag with a special Web address that appears on-screen when touched to the laptop.

THE UPSIDE: There's a movement to make NFC the basis for tomorrow's , and to build NFC into smartphones. That means someone with an NFC-enabled laptop could, in the future, pay securely for an online purchase by tapping a payment card to the computer. Intel Corp. demonstrated this procedure at a press conference at the show, with a prototype laptop.

THE DOWNSIDE: The Envy's NFC capability may never progress beyond the ability to grab Web addresses from phones and promotional materials. The business relationships and networks needed to make NFC-enabled payments ubiquitous have been slow to emerge, as many different players are jockeying for position.

IDC analyst Williams Stofega said NFC has a lot of potential as part of the trend of "tangible computing" - getting the things around us to talk to each other intelligently, to make our lives easier. But the lack of standards is a big obstacle.

"If NFC is not integrated with everything else, it's going to die," Stofega said.

WHAT ELSE MAKES IT HOT: The Envy 14 comes with super-fast "solid state" hard drives. It includes a chip that can communicate wirelessly with some stereo headphones, with an audio quality that's much better than Bluetooth. The Envy is also covered in scratch-resistant glass.

AVAILABILITY: Starting Feb. 8 in the U.S., at $1,400 and up.

Explore further: A smart wristband for nocturnal cyclists

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tickets, coupons among uses for tap-to-pay phones

Feb 21, 2011

(AP) -- Cell phones are usually used to communicate with people far away. This year, they'll get the ability to do the opposite: communicate with things that are close enough to touch.

Recommended for you

A smart wristband for nocturnal cyclists

1 hour ago

Five EPFL PhD students have developed a wristband that flashes when the rider reaches out to indicate a turn. Their invention was recognized at a European competition.

Lenovo's smart glasses prototype has battery at neck

19 hours ago

China's PC giant Lenovo last week offered a peek at its Google Glass-competing smart glass prototype, further details of which are to be announced in October. Lenovo's glasses prototype is not an extreme ...

Sapphire talk enlivens guesswork over iPhone 6

Jul 27, 2014

Sapphire screens for the next iPhone? Sapphire is second only to diamond in hardness scratch-proof properties, used in making LEDs, missiles sensors, and on screens for luxury-tier phones. Last year, the ...

Startup offers elderly an Internet key to family links

Jul 27, 2014

Two grandmothers mystified by computer tablets have inspired a French-Romanian startup to develop an application and service to help the elderly stay in touch with their relatives through the Internet.

User comments : 0