The last major news out of Hewlett Packard was the split in enterprise and the consumer business, meant to enable flexibility. HP (the PC consumer arm of the company kept the HP branding) will be showing this new direction with new products on October 29th.
Re/code has gotten a description from those that have seen one of the products, called ‘Sprout.’ It features three components, a display, a flat touch-enabled surface, and an “overhead assembly that combines a projector and a 3-D scanner.”
The overhead device, with the projector and screen, points down at the work surface. The projector projects images on the surface, which the user can manipulate, including resizing, moving, and changing colors. To add images to manipulate, the user places an object on the flat surface that the overhead device (3D – scanner) can scan and then the object will appear on the touch-enabled work surface.
It is not clear what the screen is for from Re/code’s description (except for that it will be similar to HP’s Touchsmart line). I would guess its use would be secondary and to configure the computer that would come bundled (in some form factor) with Sprout.
This computer will reportedly run Windows, but with the possibility of ChromeOS coming in the future. I am quite confused to why something as interactive as this would run ChromeOS, which is essentially a browser, instead of HP’s own variant of Linux if they wanted more custom functions.
That is especially surprising as this is meant to be marketed at higher-end customers, such as retail businesses. With its interactive ability, you could show the customer your product customized to their needs (e.g. how a certain paint looks on a house, or a room).
On the lower-end, I could see this useful for designers at companies or independent shops to easily make concepts and mockups. The pricing is not yet clear, but it could have a market appeal similar to 3-D printers.
Regardless, we will find out the true details in a week, as well as get to meet the new products. It will be interesting to see if the new HP can create a consumer device that creates its own market on par with something like the iPad.Further reading: HP, Microsoft