HP aims Sprout at enterprise, education

HP's Sprout immersive PC had obvious use cases for business and education. Now HP is making it official with Sprout Pro and a version for education.

HP on Tuesday rolled out Sprout Pro and Sprout Education, versions of the immersive 3D PC designed for business and education.

Sprout last year launched its integrated 3D scanning tool and ability to capture an object and then edit it. The Sprout PC is meant to be combined with 3D printers from Dremel to make creations. The big idea behind Sprout is to meld the digital and physical worlds.

The big difference between the business version of Sprout and the consumer version launched last year is that it includes software images that can be customized, collaboration tools for education and business and applications ranging from directions to create small assemblies for a manufacturer to training.

HP is focusing Sprout Pro on creative pros, healthcare, retail and manufacturing.

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Louis Kim, general manager of immersive computing at HP, said Sprout has been building its ecosystem. Sprout has been deployed in business and educational settings. One primary win for business and educational institutions is that HP is making it easier to buy the systems. Kim said that businesses and schools were buying Sprout at retail outlets like Best Buy.

But Kim declined to cough up Sprout sales figures.

Also: HP adds $299 turntable scanner to Sprout blended reality PC | With Sprout, HP bets on remaking the PC as a 3D maker tool | HP to enter 3D printing market in 2016: Will customers wait? | Special Report: 3D Printing: Building the Future |TechRepublic: From food waste to carbon fiber, the wide world of 3D printer filament | CNET review of Sprout

Perhaps the biggest question for me is why Sprout didn't go enterprise first. There are better education and business use cases for Sprout. HP execs noted that the plan was to go consumer, build interest and an ecosystem and then layer more business-friendly applications.

It's unclear how many apps are developed for Sprout because the software doesn't necessarily completely go through HP's app store. Many apps are distributed via the channel or commercial partners. Kim did add that future enhancements to Sprout would be Web based and that could play into Google's Chrome OS.

On the collaboration front, the Sprout for education bundle is designed to replace overhead projectors as well as PCs and screens. With Webcams, touchscreens, screen projector and pen, teachers could use a wall as an external display to increase engagements. With those features, HP is also aiming Sprout at the market for interactive boards in education.

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"Sprout is a learning broadcast station for teachers," said Kim. "It enables learning through collaborative mode."

Michael Schmedlen, vice president for HP's worldwide education unit, said Sprout is designed to reach students that may not conform to standardization. HP is launching:

  • Education Editions of its laptops that have a day's worth of battery life, wireless capabilities, rugged designs and educational tools.
  • HP School Pack 2.0, a suite for education, which includes classroom management software, mobile device management and adaptive learning tools.
  • A program with Microsoft to change way technology and education interact. The two companies will launch innovation studios to integrate the maker movement in education as well as cloud tools.