Cool PC Innovation

Michael Vizard

Lots of companies, especially Hewlett-Packard, like to lay claim to the mantle of innovation when it comes to PC design. And while it's generally difficult for any PC vendor to maintain a lead for long in new design, HP deserves some credit today for pointing us in the direction of things to come.

Anybody who has bought a new PC lately has noticed they run pretty hot. While most PC manufacturers have adjusted their designs to accommodate the latest generation of Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processors, very few have done anything really interesting to address the heat issue until today.

Starting with a new class of HP Pavilion dm3 systems unveiled today, HP is rolling out new CoolSense Technology that leverages hardware and software to automatically adjust which components in the system are running at any given time. Of course, end users could do this manually, but the HP approach automates the process by, among other things, sensing whether the PC is on a desk or sitting on someone's lap. CoolSense is a very good idea because we all know that most end users are not going to do something they need to remember to do manually every time they power up their PC.

According to Cara Baez, an HP product manager for consumer notebooks, HP is waiting to see how the market reacts to CoolSense before deploying it across the rest of the company's PC lineup. But given all the interest in controlling power costs and all things green, chances are good that customers are going to demand CoolSense as a standard element of any HP PC they buy.

HP today also gave us another glimpse of the future in the form of a 17-in HP Envy system that can show three-dimensional movies. Now there are very few 3D films available on DVD. But the new HP Envy 17 3D system does foreshadow where the next major innovation in PC application software is heading. It's not too hard to envision how helpful 3D support on a PC might be when using a variety of applications. We're still years away from that happening. But it's nice to catch a glimpse of that potential future today.

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