Is HP’s third-gen Windows Home Server box headed for Australia?

Earlier this week HP lifted the covers on a revamped range of desktops notebooks thin-and-light laptops and netbooks at its Spring 2009 launch in Singapore.

This time next month we’ll find out which bits of kit will reach out shores when HP holds its Australian media showcase event on October 14th. And many fingers are crossed that HP’s updated MediaSmart Server will be among them.

The stout shiny black box has long been Microsoft’s poster child for Windows Homer Server but it’s yet to appear on the Aussie market.

That could be about to change with the timely debut of the updated MediaSmart system and its potential as a home media hub for Windows 7 PCs.

Among the tweaks to the MediaSmart server are a much-improved WHS Console page (above) and
a slick new browser-based home page (below)

Ironically the refreshed systems also play better with Apple’s Mac OS X. There’s full support for Time Machine to act as a target for backups and restores direct access to the Windows Home Server console through a bundled remote desktop client and the ability of HP’s Media Collector – which helps consolidate multimedia content into a single server-resident library – to handle iTunes and iPhoto content.

The MediaSmart systems can also act as an iTunes Library host and stream music videos and photos to an iPhone.

Back in the Windows world the two new mdoels – dubbed the EX490 and EX495 – sport a refined interface a browser-based home page and a new video converter with custom settings and profiles.

The EX490 (US$549) runs off a single-core Celeron CPU and ships with a single 1TB drive while the meatier EX495 (US$699) packs a dual-core Pentium and a 1.5TB drive. Both have a total of four 3.5 inch bays for expansion.