Technology products have long been subject to “trickle-down” effects with leading edge innovations aimed first at deep pocketed businesses and consumers before gradually working their way into the mainstream. That’s certainly the case with Intel microprocessors, like the 7th generation Core CPUs announced earlier this year. But it’s also true of complementary technologies, including software, GPUs, displays, input devices and other components that PC OEMs incorporate.
Practical and strategic considerations are the foundation of this process. Practically speaking, the high prices commanded by leading edge solutions are most likely to be paid by; 1) professionals who need every ounce of quality and performance next gen technologies, and 2) enthusiast consumers looking to up the quality of their gaming and entertainment experience. On the strategic side, new technologies allow vendors to highlight their most innovative qualities in products designed for discerning tastes and applications.
Walking the Cannes red carpet, HP-style
With PCs, laptops and tablets featuring Intel’s latest 7th gen Core i3, i5 and i7 processors now on their way to stores and online outlets, the next few weeks will be rife with new product announcements. In fact, at the recent Cannes Film Festival, HP introduced a portfolio of new premium Spectre x2, ENVY x360 and ENVY laptops that the company said are designed for professional artists and other digital creators. They include:
- Spectre x2 – Featuring a CNC-machined aluminum chassis, dark ash silver coloring, stainless steel hinge and a copper kickstand. A 12.3-inch diagonal 3K2K (3000×2000) display (with 6 million pixels) is optimal for HD entertainment and provides a wider range of ambient light options for photographers and graphic artists. Other features include a durable detachable keyboard, 8 hours of battery life, HP Fast Charge and high-resolution cameras: a 13MP rear camera, 5MP WDR wide-view front camera and an IR camera for Windows Hello biometric authentication. The Spectre x2 also supports a Windows Ink Certified pen that can be used for artistic effects, from varying line weights to creating subtle shading and coloring.
- ENVY 13 and ENVY 17 – These laptops are designed for mobile performance and productivity. Both feature a durable metal chassis and finish offered in natural silver and silk gold, as well as an angular lift hinge designed to allow the fan to easily circulate air and offer a more comfortable typing experience. Both ENVYs are offered with a UHD display with more than 8 million pixels, quad speakers with discrete amplifiers and an HD WDR camera with wide viewing angels, allowing users to easily transition between creating and entertaining. An optional HP Secure Pad with embedded fingerprint reader and Windows Hello blends security features with convenience. Also optional are dedicated NVIDIA graphics features for enhanced resolution, response rates and colors in the display.
- ENVY x360 – HP redesigned this 15.6-inch diagonal convertible while maintaining its focus as a laptop or a tablet for multiple environments. It features a micro-edge display, unibody aluminum chassis and fluid geared hinge, and is offered in dark ash silver and natural silver finishes. The ENVY x360 is certified for Windows Ink via a high precision N-tig stylus. An optional UHD IPS display provides over 8M pixels for watching videos or detailed editing. Along with Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, the x360 offers optional AMD A9, A12 and FX processors and up to 16GB of DDR4 memory.
What’s there to say about HP’s new premium solutions? A couple of things come to mind. Number one is the company’s focus on mobilizing high end graphics features and performance, a point where the new ENVY and Spectre laptops appear to substantially succeed. While UHD displays, high resolution cameras and optional NVIDIA and AMD GPUs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they should meet needs of many graphics professionals and high-end content consumers. In other words, the core audiences that HP hopes its will tantalize.
The new laptops also reflect the further mainstreaming of HP technologies and features whose initial introductions were fairly recent. Those include the Fast Charge feature and micro edge displays offered with last year’s ENVY and Spectre laptops, as well as support for the latest versions of the Windows Hello biometric authentication and Windows Ink stylus technologies in Windows 10. How compelling are these features? That depends on individual customers and use cases, but they’re all important to select audiences.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about HP’s new Spectre X2, Envy 13 and 17, and ENVY x360 laptops. Like other productions spotlighted at the Cannes Film Festival, the eventual success of these products is hard to predict. But by focusing on the discrete mobile needs of digital content creators and premium content consumers, HP should attract both the respectful attention of potential clients and the enthusiastic assent of dedicated company customers.