- 22 February 2000] Hewlett-Packard Co. [NYSE:HWP] today joined the industry
movement toward low-cost, "legacy-free" desktop PC systems by unveiling
its e-Vectra corporate desktop line, the company's first "e-PC" product
designed for the workplace.
dictionary-sized computer tower features a new look and weighs just under
8 pounds, making it about 75 percent smaller than traditional commercial
desktop PCs, according to HP officials in Palo Alto, Calif. Prices for
the e-Vectra start at $549.
recent years, Intel Corp. [NASDAQ:INTC] and Microsoft Corp. [NASDAQ:MSFT]
have urged manufacturers to develop more attractive computer systems free
of legacy technology, touting instead a greater reliance on USB (Universal
Serial Bus) technology.
removing legacy features, such as available ISA and PCI slots, the computer
giants contend desktop users and IT managers will incur fewer system failures
resulting from hardware and software conflicts that can arise when peripherals
are added to the slots.
not only removed legacy technology, including the 1.44MB floppy drive,
it also placed the system in a sealed box to prevent unauthorized tinkering
with the hardware. Sealed-box systems, HP said, give IT managers' greater
control and assure system uniformity across sometimes far-flung corporate
offices. Sealed systems also help prevent theft of peripherals, the company
new system will compete directly with Compaq Computer Corp.'s [NYSE:CPQ]
own legacy-free corporate desktop, the iPaq, which the Houston-based manufacturer
unveiled in November and began shipping last month. Prices for the iPaq
start at $499.
It may be simple, reliable, and stable. It's cheap to build and cheap
to sell. And it keeps HP competitive with similar offerings from Compaq
and IBM. We've seen similar initiatives before - souped-up 3270 emulators
and Larry Ellison's network computers, to name two. Perhaps the third
time's the charm.
we dispute the a priori premise that so called "legacy-free"
systems require less technical support than PCs that use 1.44MB floppy
drives, ISA, PCI, and/or PS/2 ports. This change makes existing inventories
of serial and PS/2 devices, (e.g., keyboards, modems, and Palm cradles)
obsolete. It forces support staff to get comfortable with USB, which has
yet to make the same inroads in Wintel architectures as it has in the
Mac world. Furthermore, USB support requires either Windows 98 or 2000
- not NT 4.0, whose stability is far better documented than either 98
we believe the sealed case design has problems. What are you supposed
to do if they break - throw them away? The classic Vectra may lack the
millennial panache of its prefixed e-Vectra cousin, but at least you can
replace a Vectra hard drive.
said, the HP e-Vectra offers better "legacy" support, and faster processors,
than Compaq's iPaq, for little additional cost - about $50.
Two things need to happen before e-Vectras can be evaluated for your organization.
First, Microsoft needs to release Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000. Second,
your organization needs to plan and budget a transition for your legacy
peripherals. Then, and only then, can you fairly consider an e-Vectra.