HP Announces Prepaid Mobile Broadband, Redesigned Biz, Consumer Notebooks and Netbooks

Today HP announced refreshes to several of its consumer and business notebooks. The HP ProBook 5330m, EliteBook 2560p, EliteBook 2760p, Pavilion dv4, Envy 14, and Mini 210 all saw changes, some big some small. More significantly for the business set, though, the company also launched DataPass, a prepaid mobile broadband service that will be available as an option on a number of its business notebooks.

HP’s DataPass acts much like an MVNO; the company bought unused 3G spectrum from Sprint, and is now selling it for $5 for 75MB, and$30 for 1GB. So while it’s not going to let you stream Hulu to your heart’s content, it will serve in a pinch for road warriors who need to stay connected. In order to use the service, you must have a notebook outfitted with the Gobi 1000 (HP un2400) or Gobi 2000  (HP un2420) broadband module. Where will it work? The coverage map is to the right.

On the business side, the ProBook 5330m (shown above) is the latest beneficiary of HP’s FORGE design, which features a two-tone brushed aluminum chassis, and a backlit island-style keyboard. Trying to lure in a younger audience, this 13-inch notebook also features Beats Audio, heretofore only seen on HP’s consumer systems. Processor options include Intel second-gen Core i3 and i5 CPUs. Of course, they have business goodies such as optional vPro technology, TPM, and fingerprint readers. The HP ProBook 5330m starts at $799.

Cosmetically, not much has changed with the EliteBook 2560p and the EliteBook 2760p, except that the former now has a 12.5-inch display in a 16:9 aspect ratio, and also crams in an optical drive.The 12.1-inch 2760p convertible tablet can be outfitted with Core i5 and i7 processors, and will also support DataPass, HP’s new prepaid mobile broadband service for laptops. The 2760p starts at $1,499 and is available now; the 2560p will start at $1,099 and will go on sale starting May 23.

The new 14-inch Pavilion dv4 follows the same design aesthetic as the redesigned dv6 and dv7. While it has a plastic, not a metal lid, it has an island-style keyboard, and the back edge of the system has “Hewlett-Packard” spelled out like you’d see on a classic car. Consumers will get to choose from AMD and Intel CPU options, as well as AMD Radeon graphics. HP also updated its CoolSense technology (a combination of hardware and software that keeps the notebook cool), simplifying the user interface. The system will start at $599, and be available on May 18.

The Envy 14, HP’s premium 14.5-inch entertainment system, now has a Synaptics imagepad touchpad, which will offer a greater number of gestures and control. The notebook comes with HP’s BrightView Infinity LED display, AMD graphics, USB 3.0, and Beats Audio. Starting at $999, it looks like it will remain competitive with the MacBook Pro.

HP’s netbook, the Mini 210, received the most radical makeover, with a whole palette of color options–charcoal, crimson red, luminous rose, ocean drive, pacific blue, and sweet purple–and a new design to match. The 10-inch netbook, which will run on Intel’s Atom processor, also has Beats Audio technology, a nice touch for a system starting at $299.

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