Posts tagged HP
With its serious processor, and its guts-behind-the-glass design, Microsoft’s Surface Pro may well be the template for the new PC. And device makers should pay attention. PC makers take note. Microsoft is pioneering the next PC. Here are two simple reasons why the Surface Pro makes a good case as the template for the new PC. One, Microsoft realized that the device’s electronics should go behind the glass, not under the keyboard. Two, the device uses a real processor. Let’s address the electronics first. Most of the newfangled laptops I saw at CES were convertibles. That is, the displays are not detachable because the core electronics are under the keyboard, just like your father’s laptop.
And most of them were unimpressive. The mechanics necessary to flip and/or slide the screen and convert the laptop to tablet mode were more often than not kludgy and some seemed destined for mechanical problems down the pike. And the more problematic designs weren’t thin or light, either. At least not when compared with popular tablets like Apple’s iPad or Google’s Nexus. One of the few exceptions – as I noted before – was the HP EliteBook Revolve. That 11.6-inch design was about as well conceived as a convertible can be. But there’s a reason for that: HP has been building Windows convertibles for ages. The EliteBook 2700 series and its progenitors have been around since the dawn of Windows XP. So, HP has this down to a science.
But, again, that’s a rare exception at present. The future leans more toward a PC with the electronics behind the glass. And there’s no better example right now than the Surface Pro. Microsoft was bold enough to go with a mainstream third-generation Core Intel “Ivy Bridge” chip, not the slower Atom processor that most Windows 8 tablet and detachable makers have opted for. Yeah, the battery life won’t be great, but Microsoft, I think, knew (rightly so) that it would be crucified if it opted for the performance-challenged Atom chip, which isn’t up to the task of running serious desktop applications on Windows 8.
Remember the netbook? That’s one way to look at the first crop of Atom-based Windows 8 tablets: a netbook in tablet clothing. Microsoft didn’t want to go there. And give Lenovo some credit too. It showed off the ThinkPad Helix detachable at CES that separates from the base to become a full-fledged Ivy Bridge-based tablet, not unlike the Microsoft Surface Pro. And Intel, I think, in its heart of hearts knows Atom isn’t really up to the task. Thus, the revelation at CES of the most power-efficient Ivy Bridge yet. One of Intel’s goals is to get these new Ivy Bridge chips — as well as upcoming “Haswell” chips — behind the glass, as Intel’s Adam King told me at CES.
So, I would expect to see an increasing number of Windows 8 tablets and/or detachables sporting Intel’s mainstream Haswell Core processors later this year. And battery life will improve with Haswell. I would be fine with a Windows 8 tablet packing a real Intel chip that gets six hours of battery life. And a Haswell-based Surface tablet should meet or exceed this.
Hewlett Packard has a long and rich history of innovation in Silicon Valley. As one of the first major computer companies to set down roots there, it has ties with nearly every maker to come after it, even Apple. Founder Steve Jobs famously contacted Bill Hewlett directly to see if he could score some spare parts to build a frequency counter — and ended up with a job there.
That’s why it’s so painful to look at the new line of HP desktops, called Spectre One. The Spectre One desktop, which was released in a PR flood at midnight last night, looks like absolutely nothing other than a complete clone of Apple’s iMac. The phrase “Redmond, start your photocopiers” was used to market Mac OS X Tiger back in 2006 and referred to Microsoft. Microsoft is pushing something new and original with Windows 8, but the OEMs making computers for it seem to have done just that.
Here is an images from Engadget’s coverage (which does not mention the resemblance, strange given that they’ve taken HP to task on this before) compared to a shot of Apple’s computer from the blog of Lim Cheng Ye:
Note that even the keyboard and touchpad are nearly complete clones of Apple’s offerings. This is just a sad day for HP. There are nearly infinite combinations of components and design to choose from here and it decided to effectively clone Apple. Why? How has a company once praised for pushing the industry forward decided that this kind of thing is ok to do?
I’m reminded of something that Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson just after the shuttering of the WebOS division at HP. “Hewlett and Packard built a great company, and they thought they had left it in good hands,” Jobs told Isaacson. “But now it’s being dismembered and destroyed.”
“I hope I’ve left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple,” he added. I’m not sure why HP has decided to sell out its legacy like this, but it sucks.
Update: Here’s an official product shot, just so we’re clear:
Microsoft’s tablet is the most popular Windows 8 device at least according to numbers cited by a Windows ad-serving business. Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is the most popular single Windows 8/RT device, according to ad-based statistics. ”Surface is already the most popular single device running Windows 8/RT with 11 percent of the overall ‘market,’” according to AdDuplex, a Windows ad-serving business. While hard numbers for Microsoft’s tablet are still a mystery, analysts have indicated that sales at Microsoft stores were relatively strong, at least initially.
And online, the $499 model was sold out for about a week. Earlier this week, however, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer seemed to temper sales expectationswhen he said that Microsoft’s strategy for sales has been “modest,” which referred to the limited sales channel for the device. Surface is only sold at a few dozen Microsoft stores and on Microsoft’s online store. Looking at other devices, the Hewlett-Packard Pavilion g6 laptop was a distant second with 2 percent, though other HP laptop models showed up in the data, giving it a total of about five percent of the models that registered on the chart, according to the AdDuplex’s numbers.
And HP was the largest brand among Windows 8/RT devices, with 17 percent. Microsoft was second with 11 percent (cited above), Dell was third with 10 percent, and Acer fourth with 9 percent. And Windows Phone devices? Nokia’s Lumia 710 was No. 1 with 22 percent. Other Lumia phones, like the Lumia 800, took the largest chunk of the remaining share. The Windows Phone 7.10 operating system dominated with 96 percent, while the just-announced Windows Phone 8 had four percent.
Microsoft and its partners have found an opening against Apple. That’s rare these days. The Windows 8 touch screen is the first real change that has come to Windows laptops in a long time. I would put it right up there with the trackpad and, more recently, the MacBook Pro Retina display. And it’s made more significant by the fact that Apple has rejected the idea of a hybrid device via Tim Cook’s refrigerator-toaster analogy. Which gives Apple’s less-nimble Silicon Valley neighbor, Hewlett-Packard, a rare leg up.
Just check out HP’s Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook. When I saw this, it instantly killed any craving I had had for Apple’s MacBook Pro Retina. The XT not only has a touch screen but a gorgeous one at that an IPS 1,920×1,080-pixel 15.6-incher. It’s pricey starting at $1,399 but that’s still about $800 less that Apple’s cheapest Retina Pro. Of course, I haven’t mentioned all of the convertibles that were announced this week, like HP’s Envy x2 (nor Microsoft’s Surface tablet announced in June). That’s another hole in Apple’s armor. Take the x2. You use it like a regular laptop, then, when the spirit moves you, detach the screen and use it as a tablet. (The only major downside I see right now is the display: a 1,366×768 screen is too pixelated and pales against the iPad’s 2,048×1,536 Retina screen.)
But I’m focusing on standard clamshell laptops here. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of a laptop with a touch screen. All of the electronics are still under the keyboard not behind the tablet’s screen which allows HP to pack in powerful processors and graphics. Or to put it more simply, why not buy a laptop with a touch screen? It’s there if you need it. Is Apple vulnerable? You bet.
The hottest laptop of the year so far is HP’s new Envy 14 Spectre. This unique-looking system was a breakout star at CES 2012 because of its glass-covered lid and wrist rest, giving it a gleaming slate-like look that was different from anything previously seen. As our recent review shows, it’s actually a solid laptop as well, with good performance and battery life, and a few noteworthy features, such as Beats Audio and an NFC antenna for connection to mobile phones.
The Spectre is certainly not the first unique laptop design we’ve seen, but many of the models that break the mold visually do so at the expense of performance, battery life, or just plain usability. Some of these designs are just too esoteric to ever catch on with a mainstream audience, such as the dual touch screens (and no keyboard) on the Acer Iconia. Other times, a risk-taking new design is highly hyped, and released to much fanfare, only to be quickly dropped by the company responsible for it when it doesn’t take off right away. It’s always a shame when a product such as the Dell Adamo XPS doesn’t get a chance to find its audience (and ironically, the currently hot ultrabook category owes a design debt to the Adamo XPS and the original Adamo model that preceded it).
In this roundup, we’ve collected some of the most inventive laptop designs of the past few years, along with our impressions of what worked, and what didn’t for each one. None of the older systems went on to be major hits, sometimes because of design, but other times, due to performance and price. Time will tell if the new HP Spectre (and the Razer Blade, our other current pick) will beat the unique design curse that has kept most laptops looking fairly similar to each other for many years.
Should laptop designers stick with the basic boxlike look, or is there room for some inventiveness? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Apple was tops overall in mobile-PC market share for the fourth quarter and all of 2011, while Hewlett-Packard held on to first place for notebooks, says NPD DisplaySearch. Once again, another survey found Apple dominated the tablet market in both the fourth quarter and throughout 2011 overall. First, Apple shipped 23.4 million mobile PCs in the fourth quarter of 2011 (26 percent of the global market share) and over 62.8 million mobile PCs throughout the year–both mostly filled with iPad orders, according to the latest figures from NPD DisplaySearch. Although mobile-PC shipments grew by 12 percent quarter to quarter and by 44 percent year over year, NPD DisplaySearch senior analyst Richard Shim explained in the report that mobile-PC brands had a difficult time last year.
Mobile-PC brands read the writing on the wall in the fourth quarter. Consumer demand for notebooks was expected to be weak following modest back-to-school results, especially with the expected launch of Windows 8 on the horizon, and increasing interest in tablet PCs. As a result, brands focused their typical holiday price cuts on tablets to boost demand. As for tablets on their own, that category continues to surge–especially for Apple, which controls 59.1 percent of the worldwide market as of the fourth quarter. However, Amazon made a noticeable impression in second place with 16.7 percent of the market share within just a single quarter. Nevertheless, there was one category that Apple did not win, and that would be worldwide notebook PC shipments, where Apple placed fifth. Instead, Hewlett-Packard was the winner here with 15.5 percent of the market share and 8.7 million units shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter, likely reaffirming the decision that HP’s leaders made to keep the consumer PC unit after all. Both Dell and Acer tied with 11.8 percent of the market, while Lenovo came in fourth with 10.8 percent.