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HP Will Unveil New Computing Product Called Sprout Next Week

Combining a touch-enabled PC with an overhead scanner and projector.

When Hewlett-Packard announced it would split in two — one company devoted to PCs and printing, the other to enterprise IT — CEO Meg Whitman said one area the PC side would explore is “new computing experiences.”

Sources familiar with the matter tell Re/code that HP will demonstrate one of them at an event in New York on Oct. 29, with a product it is calling Sprout.

The product combines a large flat-screen display — similar to its Pavilion Touchsmart line of touch-enabled desktop PCs — with a flat touch-enabled work surface and an overhead assembly that combines a projector and a 3-D scanner, according to people who’ve seen it.

The overhead device projects images downward onto the work surface, which users can manipulate with their hands or with a stylus. They can resize pictures, move elements around and change colors. They can also easily add new elements to the image by scanning objects or other images directly on the work surface. This is where the overhead 3-D scanner comes into play. Adding an image of any object is as easy as placing it on the work surface where it can be scanned and then included in whatever the user is working on.

Sprout will run Windows initially, but future versions could run Google’s ChromeOS, sources say. It’s unclear what the starting price will be.

The product has been created by a group headed by Eric Monsef, a former Apple hardware executive.

Sprout will primarily be sold to businesses but it’ll also be marketed to high-end customers, sometimes called “prosumers,” whose needs often mesh with those of professionals. Businesses could use it to show customers different options of product and help make buying decisions. A decorator or home improvement store could use a photo of a room in someone’s home to show how it would look with different paint or wallpaper options. Fashion retailers could show exactly how a customer would look wearing a dress or jewelry. But it will also be marketed to companies for creating better presentations and to teachers, people familiar with HP’s plans say.

The product is also intended to demonstrate HP’s ability to break away from the pack in the personal computing business, where most vendors focus on notebooks, tablets and desktops, which generally compete with other manufacturers on price.

Sprout will be one of several products that HP demonstrates at the event in New York next week.

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