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HP jump-starting Compaq brand with ultra-cheap machines

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by ByaseL, Oct 15, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    Yahoo News

    Remember Compaq? Hewlett-Packard acquired the venerable computer company way back in 2002, but it's kept the name alive as a secondary brand ever since, mainly relegating Compaq to overseas markets (Compaq is particularly popular in Asia) and as second-tier PCs sold on the cheap at warehouse-style stores.

    But now HP is looking to breathe a little new life into the Compaq brand, positioning it not just as a label for extremely cheap computer equipment but also as one with mainstream appeal in the U.S.

    Today the company is announcing the rollout of a line of ultra-inexpensive PCs, both laptops and desktops, with extreme budgets in mind.

    Consider first the Compaq CQ61z (pictured), a 15.6-inch laptop with an AMD Sempron CPU, 2GB of RAM, DVD burner, 160GB hard drive, and discrete graphics. Running Windows 7 Home Premium, the machine costs a nearly unfathomable $399. That price point probably sounds familiar -- it's the usual cost for your average netbook, which in comparison offers a tiny screen, minimal hard drive, and an ultra-low-power Atom CPU.

    With the $400 laptop's arrival, Compaq wants potential buyers to ask: Why not jump up to a much larger and more capable system for exactly the same price? I'm having a hard time seeing any reason not to. Seriously, it even has a numeric keypad.
    Even better bargains abound for desktop shoppers. The attractive Compaq Presario 4010f has similar specs (with a 250GB hard drive) and starts at just $309 after a $100 rebate.

    Both systems are available on Windows 7 launch day, October 22.

    Compaq's aggressively inexpensive hardware -- particularly the $399 laptop -- could have massive ramifications for the computer market. Will netbooks finally feel the pinch that they've been giving to standard laptops for two years now? And what kind of pressure will machines like this bring to bear on more expensive notebook PCs?