HP to Launch 3 Windows 8 Pro Portable Devices

– Aims to Save the Corporate Market

– A Touchscreen Screen Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Its Software Is Touchscreen

Here come Windows 8 Pro tablets and ultrabooks.

There is a Windows 8 battle within the OS war that Microsoft is waging against Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS: the Intel processor- based Pro version of Windows 8 versus the RT version that runs on ARM-based processors from Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments.

HP says it will launch three Windows 8 touchscreen capable portable products by year-end. All are mainly aimed at the corporate market and will run the Pro version of Windows 8, which requires Intel’s processors and can run existing software for Windows XP, Vista and 7. However, software that runs on the existing versions of Windows does not have touchscreen capabilities. The software developer will have to rework existing software, or develop new versions, both of which can be costly and time-consuming.

The three products are:

– The PC-tablet hybrid HP Envy X2, which HP said to offer the best of both the notebook and tablet world. The screen is easily detached from a magnetic hinge so it can be used as a tablet. It has an 11.6- inch HD display, an HD Webcam, Beats Audio, NFC file sharing technology and an optional stylus. It uses solid state memory instead of a hard disc for faster startup. HP said it will be available before Christmas. It said, in an obvious dig at the iPad, it will meet consumer demand for both the productivity of a Windows PC and a tablet’s touchscreen capabilities.

Finally, the HP Envy Touch Smart Ultrabooks 4 has a 14-inch multitouch HD display, Intel processor and can muster up eight hours of battery life. There’s an optional AMD graphics card, which affords up to 2GB of graphics memory, while HP Coolsense technology means it operates at cooler temperatures.

– The HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook has the traditional notebook form factor. It has a 15.6-inch HD screen and uses Intel’s ThunderBolt technology to provide fast data transfer to external devices. It uses an Intel Core processor. It was the only unit that HP gave a price and ship date: a hefty $1,399.99 when it starts shipping in the States in December.

– The HP Envy Touchsmart Ultrabook has a 14-inch multitouch HD display, Intel processor and up to eight hours between batter charges. An optional AMD graphics card provides up to 2GB of graphics memory. HP’s Coolsense technology helps it produce less heat.

Betting the House Qualcomm and other makers of ARM-based processors for devices that run the RT version of Windows 8 point out that all software that runs on RT is touchscreen-capable and provides all the features that consumers expect in a tablet. Microsoft is including for free a touchscreen-capable version of Microsoft Office in RT. They also say that RT devices will be smaller, thinner, lighter, cooler, less expensive and have longer battery life between charges. No company has yet announced any prices for RT devices.

HP and other PC makers, plus Microsoft and Intel, have a lot riding on the products with the Pro version of Windows 8. They see it as maintaining their existing dominant market share with the corporates and taking at least some share of the consumer market. However, the only Pro device with an announced price, the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, is an eye-popping $1,400.

HP said it expects to announce more Widows 8 notebooks, desktops and tablets before year-end.

“Consumers want the flexibility to move between creating rich documents and losing themselves in a great movie,” said James Mouton, SVP and general manager of HP’s personal computer global business unit. “With the HP ENVY x2, customers can have it all. The touch experience on these three new notebooks brings out the best of Windows 8.”

HP has already struck out once in tablets, killing off the WebOS- based HP TouchPad before it started shipping.

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