Many of Hewlett-Packard's corporate PC, laptop and workstation models are to be made 'smartcard-ready', the company said at Comdex this week.
The aim is to simplify the installation of smartcard reading devices, as companies use the technology to secure PC access.
"Vectra PCs, Kayak workstations and Omnibook notebooks will be thoroughly tested for compatibility with Gemplus and Schlumberger smartcard readers, ensuring that this new variety of corporate PC peripheral is as fast and easy to install as a printer," the company said in a statement.
At the Comdex show in Las Vegas this week HP displayed its recently announced Jornada 820 handheld PC, which has just begun shipping in the US and is due to arrive in Europe in January.
The 820 weighs less than 2.5lbs, runs Windows CE and costs around $1,100 or Ecu957. It comes with a VGA screen and US and UK models will have a built in modem. Jornada, which means "A day's work" in Spanish, is being marketed as the portable product for mobile business people needing access to email and basic desktop applications through a cut down version of Microsoft Office.
However, despite chief executive Lew Platt's recent conversion to the direct sales model, particularly using the Internet, the Jornada series will not be sold direct other than via HP's Shopping Village Web site, which offers a limited range of products only on the US mainland.
The company also dropped hints about a new palm size product to be released early next year. It will be similar to the Palm Pilot but targeted more at vertical solutions for the corporate market. Based on Windows CE, this will be the first product of this kind for HP.
Last month HP announced a new range of corporate PCs as well as its plan to ship a variety of Windows terminals in first quarter next year.
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