HP’s new Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor lets you cut the computer completely out of the equation. With Firefox built-in, the Passport connects directly to an Ethernet cable to provide users with web browsing, video, audio and photo capabilities.
The new Passport line is targeted directly at small and large business customers. If consumers really want to buy one, HP certainly won’t stop them – but it’s not anything close to their primary focus. Where will this be installed? Think any location where companies might need to let the public have access to a computer – waiting rooms, hotel lobbies, kiosks, storefront sales displays, and so on.
When you turn the 1912nm on, you get greeted with a big HP logo and a series of icons: headphones, movie reels, a globe, a digital camera, and a gear. These open the audio player, video player, web browser, picture viewer and settings pane, respectively. Regrettably, HP forewent the use of any sort of labels beneath the icons, so hopefully the intended audience will figure it out (I’m not holding my breath).
There’s also no customization of the new Passport Internet Monitors. Despite these being placed in lobbies and waiting rooms, HP’s logo is prominently displayed. There doesn’t seem to be any way for companies to easily brand the units to their specification, and HP’s representatives seemed a little confused as to why I was questioning them about it.
The units come with a wired keyboard and mouse – a wireless desktop set will likely work fine, HP said, but where these get installed, you don’t want the public to easily be able to just walk off with part of the unit. There are also built-in speakers for video and audio playback, but should you find those insufficient, you’ll be able to plug in your own.
The 1366×768 resolution is a bit low, but utterly fine for the intended use. Videos played fine, and HP says that an embedded Flash plug-in means that the included Mozilla Firefox web browser can play back HD Flash videos without stutter or lag.
Overall, it’s an interesting product, and the jury’s as to whether it’ll really take off; HP is looking at it with the same curiosity, since they consider it to be something of an experiment.
On sale today, you – or your business – will be able to pick up the new HP Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor for $259.