HP Enters Ultrabook Market With Enterprise-Focused Folio

The HP Folio is less than 18-mm thick, weighs in at 3.3 pounds and features a 13.3-inch display and 128-GB solid state drive. The Folio, which like many ultrabooks bears an unmistakable resemblance to Apple's MacBook Air, also comes with a backlit keyboard as well as RJ-45 and USB 3.0 ports.

HP is touting the Folio's battery life of up to nine hours as the longest of any ultrabooks currently on the market, a list that includes the Asus Zenbook UX21 and UX31, Acer Aspire S3, Lenovo IdeaPad U300s, Toshiba Z835 and Samsung Series 9.

The Folio will be available in the U.S. on Dec. 7, but it's unclear at this point what other countries will be included in the launch. An HP spokesperson the Folio "will be available internationally in select countries," but didn't respond to a subsequent request for a listing of countries.

In January, HP plans to launch a version of the Folio that comes with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip, which secures data in e-mails and on the hard drive.

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The Folio is geared to a different type of user than the HP Slate 2, a Windows 7 tablet PC designed for education, health-care, government and retail sector firms that's slated for launch later this month.

The Folio is a collaborative effort between HP's business and consumer product development teams, and this hybrid approach is evident in the way the company describes the product. "[The Folio] combines the cool industrial design found on consumer products with the security and usability business users demand," HP said in a press release.

HP is responding to effects of so-called consumerization on the PC market, but ultrabooks don't appear to be flying off store shelves just yet. Acer and Asustek, two early and vocal proponents of the form factor, are expected to fall short of their initial ultrabook shipment projections, and have scaled back orders significantly, according to recent reports from Digitimes.

Intel started touting ultrabooks in May at Computex in Taiwan, using the term to define devices that are thin, boot up quickly and support extended battery life, with pricing in the $1,000 range.