CANONICAL HAS JOINED forces with HP, AMD and Ebuyer to launch a range of laptops that will run Ubuntu out of the box, as the companies try to drag the remaining Windows XP holdouts into the 21st century.
The HP ProBook range consists of three quad-core 15.6in laptops, the HP 255, 355 and 445, which ship with 1TB hard drvies, AMD quad-core processors and Radeon Graphics. The shell remains consistent throughout, and the differences come in the RAM and processor specs.
The entry-level HP ProBook 255 has an AMD A4 processor and 4GB RAM, the ProBook 355 has an AMD A8 and 4GB, and the top of the line HP ProBook 455 (above) has an A10 with 8GB.
All have Ubuntu 15.04 installed and Bluetooth as standard. The screen is a backlit LED 1366x768, so full HD, and the laptops come with an optical drive and a 720p HD webcam. The speakers are described as 'dual' with HD audio support.
Port-wise, there are two USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, stereo headphone/line out, RJ45, media card reader and, of course, a power socket which links to the handily included power supply.
Battery life is modest with a three-cell battery that is projected to offer four hours in optimum circumstances.
The arrival of Ubuntu laptops is a novelty, but it's certainly not a new thing. Cast your mind back six or seven years when the Eee PC range of netbooks was all the rage.
Asus offered Ubuntu versions of the diminutive machines for a reduced price. Other manufacturers were less keen, but their open source credentials mean that they are still likely to be in service today, while the Windows XP equivalents are end of life.
Since then, Ubuntu has been more popular in the world of enterprise servers than the home, although it does have a dedicated following. A fifth of INQUIRER readers told us in a poll conducted when Windows XP reached end of life last year that they would rather upgrade from XP to Linux than Windows 8.
Maybe now is the time for that to become a reality. Microsoft would probably be very grateful, as it has already said that its free upgrade to the forthcoming Windows 10 will be available only to Windows 7 and 8 users.
The Ubuntu range is available for preorder from Ebuyer now starting at £199. Delivery is expected at the end of the month. µ
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