(HPQ) H-P Introduces Four Multi-Touch PCs

After announcing three new PCs just a week back, the world’s largest PC-maker Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) is planning to heat up the market with four multi-touch PCs. The new all-in-one (central processing unit and speaker embedded into the monitor) PC models are ENVY 23, ENVY 20 TouchSmart, SpectreONE and Pavilion 20. The new entrants will run on Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows 8 operating system, which is expected to hit the market in October.

With H-P’s ENVY 23 and ENVY 20 TouchSmart, users will be able to perform all kinds of operations (typing, gaming, etc.) placing 10 fingers on the screen at a time. Also, the models will flaunt Intel Corp.’s (INTC) IVY Bridge processors, solid state drives for efficient storage, high-definition (HD) displays and H-P’s innovative applications. ENVY 23 and ENVY 20 will be available from October at an initial price of $999.0 and $799, respectively.

H-P SpectreONE features flush-glass full HD display, Intel’s IVY Bridge, NVIDIA Corp.’s (NVDA) graphics card, certain H-P invented applications and optional solid state drive. The slimmest among the Spectre family, the model comes with a two-year subscription to Symantec Corp.’s (SYMC) Norton Internet Security.

Also, with Near Field Communication technology (‘NFC’), users will be able to share contents easily with other NFC-led mobile devices with a single touch. The model will be available from November starting at $1,299.0.

H-P’s Pavilion 20, which offers 2 terabyte (1000 gigabyte) storage capacity, will be available from October at a price starting from $449.0 million.

Last week, H-P unveiled one hybrid (ENVY x2) and two Ultrabooks (SpectreXT TouchSmart & ENVY TouchSmart), which are set to hit the stores in the holiday season.

Industry experts believe that the PC market would benefit from the Windows 8 OS. They also believe that customers have withheld purchases ahead of the Win 8 launch. Microsoft plans to make the software upgrade public by October. We believe that the timing of H-P’s new releases is perfect.

But the scenario may get challenging with the launch of Microsoft’s first-ever tablet “Surface” during this Christmas season. Also, Dell Inc. (DELL) and ASUS are planning to launch Win 8-enabled hybrid PCs, quite similar to H-P ENVY x2.

It may be assumed that with such similar product offerings, market share gains for each of the competitors will be negligible.

To conclude, the general health of the PC market is to be kept in mind. Recently, Intel lowered its third quarter fiscal 2012 revenue and margin guidance due to lower PC demand, especially from the enterprises. So far, weak consumer demand was being partially offset by modest corporate demand. However, the slump in demand from enterprises can take its toll on the PC market.

Currently, H-P has a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating.

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