Skip to main content

HP’s Hardware Stack Looking Good For The Future


Traditional PC sales have been in freefall for a couple of years now and tablets, initially identified as the cause and ultimately replacement, aren’t doing any better. That’s not to say that the traditional big PC companies aren’t still making money, they are albeit less than they were in days gone by.

The problem is that the real problems for PC hardware OEMs lie in the future, not the past. PC and tablet sales will continue to decline, commoditisation of the low end will bite deeper and the same Chinese and Indian companies that have risen up to take increasingly large chunks of the smartphone market will turn their focus to PCs.

HP is reasonably well placed to weather the coming storm following its split from HPE and a refocus on the things that HP have always been good at.

The purchase of Samsung’s printer division makes good business sense. Enterprise level printing contracts are hugely lucrative as I discussed earlier in the week, and HP now has capability and capacity to shake up the enterprise market whilst still remaining a strong contender in the consumer and small business printing sectors.

That same breadth of capability is visible in the PC hardware market too. HP manages to have competitive offerings in the low end Windows and ChromeBook personal device sector, where price is key and margins are slim. It has a solid range of business focused offerings, with a sensible progression from entry-level worker PCs through to slick, smart executive level machines. It’s premium range stands toe to toe with Apple – and it’s a sign of HP’s progress that it has outgrown and outperformed Apple across the premium laptop stack.

HP’s range of tablets and hybrid two-in-one machines are class leaders too, standing toe to toe with Microsoft. In fact at least some of HP’s progress is attributable to its close relationship with Microsoft, which has allowed it to develop Windows 10 PCs that offer the sort of hardware / software integration that was once a pipe dream for Windows users.

Last of all there is the Elite x3 smartphone. Set aside any preconceptions about what a phone can be and design a high end smartphone from scratch. You’d probably end up with the x3. For an enterprise phone its a very well focused device.

So what’s missing from the HP stack? Certainly one smartphone isn’t enough to deliver on its enterprise promise. At least one (possibly two) more Windows Mobile devices are required to flesh out an all encompassing enterprise offering. That those lower end phones could serve duty as consumer devices won’t be lost on the HP that has delivered such a comprehensive PC range.

As things stand HP has come out of the storm of the last decade and a half, where the dubious leadership of some equally dubious CEOs took it to places that it should never have been. And whilst the hardware market looks like it will be a challenge over the next decade I’d suggest that HP looks to be in pretty good shape to face that future.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…