Stare much? HP brings 'Sure View' integrated privacy screens to its notebooks

The HP EliteBook 1040 with Sure View

For years companies and manufacturers have raced against one another to offer consumers better and better screens, with higher resolution, brighter displays and larger viewing angles. But those advances have also brought some downsides in terms of privacy, with walkers-by being able to read off of your screen and peek into your business. Now HP thinks it has a solution, with its “Sure View” screens.

Late last year we reported that HP was partnering with 3M to develop integrated privacy screens, that could be used to hide sensitive data on a laptop’s screen. Now the fruits of that partnership have come to bear, with HP announcing the first laptops to feature integrated privacy screens.

Privacy screens aren’t something new entirely, as companies have been offering different products that can be applied to a screen to make it less viewable from its sides. But the problem with those technologies is that they’re sort of permanent. HP’s Sure View solution is attractive because it’s on-demand: all a user has to do is hit a key on the notebook and the feature turns itself on. When you’re done editing sensitive data in a Starbucks, you can just turn it off again for a regular viewing experience.

The company claims that turning on Sure View reduces viewing angles, and decreases light escaping towards to the sides of the screen by up to 95%. This leaves a smaller light cone in front of the screen where a user can clearly see the screen, though the display’s brightness is also generally turned down low.

The first devices to feature this technology are the HP EliteBook 1040 and the HP EliteBook 840. Users can opt for a privacy screens when they configure their devices, and the feature even supports touch, so they don’t have to cut corners in terms of specs.

The HP Sure View feature will start showing up in the devices mentioned above this September. Companies are expected to be the prime customers for the privacy screens, to help employees protect sensitive data. Now if only those same employees would stop connecting to public Wi-Fi...

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