Watch out, Apple. HP on Wednesday introduced a new generation of premium computer products that could generate the kind of excitement in the market that’s usually the domain of the folks at One Infinite Loop.
Among the new HP offerings are a new tablet-laptop convertible, a svelte laptop, an innovative all-in-one model, and a 4k display designed for dual screen setups.
“HP has absolutely raised their bar in design, quality and performance,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
The new HP machines target the premium end of the PC market, he told TechNewsWorld.
“The target market for these are consumers who care a lot about design and performance and are willing to pay for it,” said Moorhead. “HP has been gaining premium PC market share in U.S. retail, so they must have obviously cracked the code there.”
Convertible and Laptop
HP’s convertible offering is the Spectre x360 (pictured above), which is 2 millimeters thinner than its predecessor and now weighs less than 3 pounds. It has a 13.3-inch FHD IPS display, four speakers and is offered with either an i5 or an i7 seventh-generation Intel Core processor.
It supports log-in via facial recognition and has up to 15 hours of battery life. What’s more, the battery can be charged 90 percent in 90 minutes via a quick-charge function.
The Spectre x360, available immediately, sells for US$1,049.99.
HP’s laptop offering, the Envy, offers more battery life than its predecessor — it has a runtime of up to 14 hours — but at 14mm thick and 3.15 pounds, it’s not as thin and light. It has a 13.3-inch display with a touchscreen option and an extra-wide glass touchpad.
The Envy will be available Oct. 26 priced at $849.99.
All-In-One and Monitor
The Envy AIO 27 is HP’s all-in-one desktop unit. It has a 27-inch QHD 3.6 million-pixel display that is just 15mm thick, because all the computing and storage power resides in the monitor’s base.
The display supports a “low blue light” mode for improved eye comfort. The base has a sound bar with four speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen.
Other features include a webcam that pops into the display when not in use, support for sixth-generation Intel quad core i5 or i7 desktop processors, storage on a solid state drive of up to 256 gigabytes, a hard drive of up to 2 terabytes, and HDMI in and out ports.
The AIO 27 sells for $1,299 and will be available this month.
HP’s new monitor is the 27-inch Envy 27. It supports 4K video and has a micro-edge bezel. Its RGB color accuracy exceeds 99 percent and includes a Display Port, HDMI and USB C, which can be used to charge devices.
The Envy 27 will be available Dec. 4 for $499.99.
Apple Dropped the Ball
The new HP offerings meet an unfulfilled need in the market, said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.
“These are premium-looking and well-configured products,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and given how Apple has dropped the ball advancing the Mac, there’s an opportunity on the premium side of PCs.”
Sinking PC shipments have spurred computer makers to intensify their efforts to impress.
“It’s become more incumbent upon the companies staying in the market to drive more profit from the premium end,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst with Reticle Research.
“Of course, Apple has been strong in that segment of the market,” he told TechNewsWorld.
However, Apple is expected to pick up the ball again at the end of the month with a refresh of its Macintosh line of computers.
“It’s too early to tell if HP has upstaged Apple until we see what Apple comes out with next,” Moorhead said. “It does set a higher bar for Apple to cross, though.”
Reviving PC Market
PC shipments have been declining for years, although there was a small bump up in this year’s second quarter.
PC shipments in the United States jumped 1.4 percent compared with the same period a year ago, reported Gartner, which includes tablets in its tallies.
PC shipments climbed 4.9 percent, according to IDC, which excludes tablets.
Worldwide shipments fell, however — by 5.2 percent according to Gartner, and by 4.9 percent according to IDC’s analysis.
HP and others hope to create some momentum in the market by introducing new premium products capable of generating the kind of excitement that could infect the whole market.
“In aggregate with what Dell and Lenovo have done, HP’s new line could breathe some new life into the PC market,” Moorhead said.
PCs Not Dead
HP also is hoping the new line can prod consumers to buy a new computer.
“All PC manufacturers are trying to kickstart the replacement market,” said Jack E. Gold of J.Gold Associates.
“Everyone says PC’s are dead,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“PCs aren’t dead. It’s just that people are holding onto them for much longer than they have in the past,” Gold pointed out.
“Lenovo, HP, Dell — they’re all trying to find ways to bring some excitement back into the market,” he said. “They’re looking at new form factors and all sorts of things to get consumers to get excited and buy upgrades. It’s not a bad strategy.”
Will the new HP offerings excite consumers enough to trade in their old PCs?
“It’s always a challenge to get people to spend money for tech,” Gold acknowledged, “but for those users who have not been upgrading in the past, there’s a lot of stuff here to really like.”
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