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Company touts reduced costs and streamlined processes

Howard Computers introduces new desktop system

Laurel — Howard Computers has introduced a first-of-its-kind system that blends the performance and power of a traditional desktop PC with the ultra-thin, sleek form of a notebook and provides businesses the means to save significantly on its computer costs.

The ELVM desktop, unveiled in April, is driven by Intel’s Centrino technology, previously found only in notebooks. The ELVM is quiet and uses low power but gives high performance that lets users work without with the hassle of antennas, cards and cables. ELVM stands for Extra Low Voltage with the “M” denoting the Pentium M processor. Centrino is an Intel brand that signifies a chip set, a processor and wireless compatibility.

The Centrino technology is the initial focus, but Howard officials believe that users will soon appreciate the minimal amount of power needed by the ELVM.

“This system uses around 30 watts of power compared to the typical idle power of 130 watts for a traditional, full-sized computer,” according to Tim Beech, manager of desktop and mobile systems at Howard. “This reduced power consumption can lead to significant savings in environments requiring many PCs.”

Reducing costs, streamlining processes

Everett E. “Robbie” Robinson IV, marketing communications manager, said that businesses and other entities that use the ELVM will discover the additional benefit of no longer having to maintain separate software load images, one for desktops and another for notebooks. This aspect of the new system also notably reduces customers’ costs while streamlining processes.

“For customers purchasing both Howard notebooks and our new ELVM desktops, we can reduce operational costs by enabling them to use the same software load images — customer-specific systems configurations that include software loads and system settings.”

“In the past, a customer might order, say, 150 computers, and we’d take the elements that the customer wanted to customize and do one computer and send it to the customer,” Robinson said. “When he approved it, we’d customize the other 149 computers and mail them to the customer and he could just take them out of the box and plug them in.”

But if he wanted 150 desktops and 150 notebooks, then two different systems would have to be installed. Now, with the ELVM system, Howard can customize desktops and laptops using the same Intel Centrino.

“When we introduced the world’s first desktop based on Centrino technology, our hope was to revolutionize how people view desktops,” Robinson said. “And based on the response we’ve received thus far, we are well on our way with accomplishing this goal.”

Robinson added that one thing Howard is really excited about is that the ELVM is also “the ideal compliment to one of our sister division’s — Howard Medical Technologies — innovative products, a point-of-care cart that provides healthcare professionals with an ergonomically-designed mobile workstation.”

“Of course, there are a number of companies making them, but at the 2005 annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Dallas, we introduced the prototype of a point-of-care medical cart with the new ELVM system,” Robinson said. “Instead of having a notebook on the cart, you can have a desktop. It’s robust and uses little power. On a laptop, you can’t have robust features.”

Robinson indicated that Howard had recently signed one of their largest sales to date for the ELVM point-of-care medical cart with a hospital in Charleston, W.V.

“A key factor in their decision-making process was based on a head-to-head performance comparison between our ELVM system and the closest comparable product from the industry’s largest PC manufacturer. Our ELVM effortlessly performed for over eight hours while the comparable system only lasted a mere 1.5 hours before draining its battery.”

With an 18” by 19” base, durable work surface, integrated cable management system and high performance 35 Ah power system, the point-of-care cart will support a wide range of computer devices, including bar code scanners, notebooks, tablets and small form factor PCs.

For 35 years, Intel Corporation has developed technology enabling the computer and internet industries. Intel was founded to build semiconductor memory products. It introduced the world’s first microprocessor in 1971. Today, Intel is the world’s largest chip maker, supplying the computer and communications industries with chips, boards, systems and software building blocks.

Anticipating new facility

Howard Computers, founded in 1999, is a division of Howard Industries, a $500-million company whose other divisions include Howard Transformers, Howard Ballast Products, Howard Lighting Products and Howard Substation Transformers.

Robinson said the the Computer Division now has about 100 employees and is temporarily housed in Howard’s Sandersville (15 miles north of Laurel) plant.

“Groundbreaking ceremonies have already been held for the new computer plant in Howard Technology Plant in Ellisville (seven miles south of Laurel). The plant will be five stories and have 50,000 square feet.”

Construction is expected to be completed in 18 months.
Howard Computers has move 190,000 different product offerings, including laptops, desktops, servers, networks and networking services for home and business, as well as the mobile medical cart with the ELVM system.

Contact MBJ contributing writer at George McNeill at mbj@msbusiness.com.

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