HP and Intel develop coffee-proof PC

If you are prone to spilling coffee over your desk, Hewlett-Packard has the PC for you.

If you are prone to spilling coffee over your desk, Hewlett-Packard has the PC for you.

The HP-Intel-developed device, which HP calls a “Concept e-pc” or “Deep Forest”, is completely sealed. Deep Forest, which is not made for sale, comes equipped with Bluetooth mobile technology and a 1.5GHz Pentium 4 chip. The company's Asia-Pacific commercial desktops marketing manager Gerhard Schiele calls it the “most powerful PC on the planet per cubic inch”. Bluetooth is used on its main board, though Schiele admits while Bluetooth is fine for mobile devices, makers have yet to work out how it will be effective for PC users.

While it works as a desktop, it has other uses. “It has a rugged surface for coffee and flower pots. You can spill coffee on it,” says Schiele. In addition, users can personalise it by fitting photos, phone lists or work schedules. HP say the concept e-pc has already been tested by customers who generally support the ideas behind it. HP likens it to a concept car, saying its features could be adopted by coming models within months. The materials used in it cost around $US4000. Further e-pc concept models will follow as HP further develops systems, says Schiele.

HP’s existing e-pc range were sold as the corporate Vectra series from their May 2000 launch until the range was extended and rebranded to include models for smaller firms. HP say the e-pcs are smaller than the rival Compaq iPaqs. They have no PCI slots for 35% better reliability, and have a sealed box and key to aid security and are easy to control. “We do not really care about what is broken. It must be easier to swap parts,” says Schiele.

The e-pc comes with an LCD screen monitor and the hard drive fits behind the monitor, giving the space advantages of a single device, though it is two separate devices, he says. HP says the e-pc costs 10% below "standard" desktops and half the price of notebooks.

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