HP debuts ProBook laptops with preinstalled SuSE Linux

HP has announced its new ProBook series of laptops intended to merge business, design and value. Some models will offer Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 preinstalled alongside Windows.

Hewlett-Packard today announced its new ProBook series of 14-, 15.6- and 17.3-in. laptops intended to merge business functionality, stylish design cues and a (hopefully) low price tag.

The "s-series," or standard series, of the new ProBook line incorporates a mercury-free design and a high-definition LED backlit display. The company says the line is inspired by minimalism and comes in "merlot" or glossy "noir" finishes. It also appears to have a raised chiclet-style keyboard, all the rage these days on Apple and Sony machines.

Most notably, the ProBook s-series models will offer Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 preinstalled alongside Windows.

More business-minded features include HP QuickLook 2 software, which provides access to e-mail, calendar, task and contact information easily; HP SpareKey, which addresses forgotten passwords by using a sequence of three predetermined personal identification questions to gain immediate entry into the system; and File Sanitizer, which permanently deletes individual files, folders and personally identifiable information from the notebook.

In a nod to Apple's enviro-friendly manufacturing steps, the ProBook s-series "has been engineered for reduced impact on the environment by eliminating or reducing substances of concern, using fewer resources and reducing energy consumption." The ProBook line holds an Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool silver rating.

The ProBook 4410s and ProBook 4415s (pictured above, in red) feature a 14-in. 16:9 HD widescreen LED backlight display, integrated optical drive with Blu-ray optional and choice of ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 or Intel GMA X4500 HD graphics controller. Wireless connectivity includes standard Wi-Fi certified WLAN and optional integrated Bluetooth. The notebooks also have an HDMI port to connect to HD displays, and include Intel (4410s) or AMD (4415s) processors.

The ProBook 4510s (pictured above, in black) and ProBook 4515s feature a 15.6-in. 16:9 HD widescreen LED backlight display. They have optional HP Mobile Broadband connectivity with built-in Gobi tech, in addition to standard Wi-Fi certified WLAN and optional integrated Bluetooth. They also feature an integrated numeric keypad. The systems include a choice of Intel (4510s) or AMD (4515s) processors and choice of discrete or UMA graphics.

The ProBook 4710s (pictured above) features a 17.3-in. HD widescreen display and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics with up to 512 megabytes of GDDR2 video memory. The system packs Intel Core 2 Duo inside, and includes standard Wi-Fi certified WLAN and optional integrated Bluetooth, as well as an HDMI port to connect to HD displays and an integrated numeric keypad.

For now, no word on precisely which components are used inside the ProBook line.

Pricing begins at $529 for the lineup, HP says, without specifiying how high it goes. The "merlot" color is only available on 14-in. and 15.6-in. models. The ProBook series hits the streets in June.