Hewlett-Packard Introduces New Desktops as It Plans Spinoff

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) plans to introduce eight new desktop personal computers in the next two months, including four touch-screen models, ahead of a planned spinoff of its $41 billion PC unit.

The world’s largest maker of PCs plans to deliver three TouchSmart models aimed at consumers with starting prices between $600 and $900 beginning this month. A TouchSmart Elite computer for small businesses, priced as low as $850, will be available Sept. 21, the Palo Alto, California-based company said today in a statement. The machines let users interact with their software by touching the computers’ screens.

The company said Aug. 18 it will spin off the Personal Systems Group, which generated sales of $40.7 billion last year, as Hewlett-Packard tries to reposition for growth and expansion in areas such as software. The spinoff may take a year to complete, Chairman Ray Lane told Bloomberg TV last week.

Hewlett-Packard has also said it’s pursuing partnerships or licensing deals for the WebOS operating system, gained last year from the acquisition of Palm Inc. Hewlett-Packard is producing a final run of its TouchPad tablet computer that uses WebOS after price cuts generated a surge in demand for the discontinued product. A version with 16 gigabytes of storage sells for $99.

In addition to the new TouchSmarts, Hewlett-Packard plans two PCs aimed at consumers and two at businesses. The machines, which won’t feature touch screens, have an “all-in-one” design that combines the screen and electronics in a single unit. Hewlett-Packard also plans to announce a new notebook computer tomorrow, said Marlene Somsak, a company spokeswoman.

Hewlett-Packard rose 51 cents to $24.14 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 43 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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