HP offers support for Apple iPads

HP has expanded its SmartFriend service to support iOS devices

By , IDG News Service |  

Is your iPad out of warranty? Hewlett-Packard wants to help.

HP updated its SmartFriend support service on Thursday and will now troubleshoot problems with Windows, Android, Chrome OS, OS X and iOS products, according to a fact sheet describing the service.

"HP is expanding its HP SmartFriend service to provide 1:1 expert support for any brand of PC or tablet," the company said. The plan previously supported PCs from HP and other vendors, as well as Macs.

Users can avail of the service to address general hardware, software and malware issues. HP says its agents can "remove viruses, improve PC performance, solve software errors, and connect devices to a wireless network with enhanced security." The support is provided by phone or over the Internet, so don't expect a technician to trot in and fix your iPad in person. But HP notes it can save you from driving to a store.

Unlike Best Buy's Geek Squad service, HP's service does not include hardware repairs. It can be tricky to change the battery or storage in tablets, so for iPads, the Genius Bars at Apple Stores may still be the best option for some repairs.

HP didn't immediately comment on exactly what support it will provide for the iPad. HP printers offer wireless printing from iPads and iPhones. HP sells primarily Windows PCs and Android tablets, though on Thursday it announced the Pavilion 14 laptop with Google's Chrome OS.

While SmartFriend includes support for iOS devices, the service seems focused mainly on Windows products. Its technicians include "Microsoft Application Trainers, Microsoft Product Specialists, A+/MCP/MCSE Certified Professionals, Network Administrators and HTML Developers," according to the fact sheet.

The service starts at US$9.99 per month and users can sign up for a pre-paid, monthly or yearly support plan. A "Complete Plan" supports two devices, while a "Family Plan" supports up to four devices.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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