HP Spectre Folio: The ‘iPace’ Of 2-in-1 Laptops

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What makes the Jaguar iPace different than any of the other electric cars currently coming to market is that it was designed from the ground up by someone that spent time understanding electric cars. As good as the Tesla is, it has a huge space up front it doesn’t need because it doesn’t have a gas engine. This makes the car far bigger than it has to be and gives buyers a redundant trunk. The iPace loses the “Fronk” (Front Trunk) for the most part and gets something amazing, it is nearly as big inside as their big F-Pace and nearly as small outside as their small SUV the E-Pace. Or, it has the size where you’d want it, inside rather than outside making it far easier to park but with a ton of inside room.

The new HP Spectre Folio is the first 2-in-1 I’ve seen which is designed based on what we know about how 2-in-1s are used (or not used as the case is today). You see, the clear majority of folks use 2-in-1s today no different than laptops. They just don’t use the tablet features. Most don’t even use the unique features to better watch videos even though they are surprisingly good at this (granted some of this has to do with the fact Amazon isn’t allowing Windows machines to download movies yet, though I’m told that is being worked on).

Let’s talk about the HP Spectre Folio

HP Spectre Folio leather 2-in-1

2-in-1s

The issue with 2-in-1s is that the folks that came up with the concept really didn’t seem to think it through. They seemed to think that as long as you could remove or conceal the keyboard that folks would use the thing as a tablet. But, initially, the battery life sucked, the carry weight sucked, and you often ended up either without the keyboard when you needed it or holding onto the keyboard uncomfortably. No wonder people just didn’t want to use them as tablets, they sucked (and the tablet apps on Windows aren’t really competitive either so you had that to deal with as well).

So, this was like charging folks extra for a vehicle with a convertible top, but creating a top that was so annoying to use no one actually put it down. (Granted there were a lot of English sports cars like that a about half a century ago). But the car market learned how to build convertibles, and with the iPace, learned how to build electric cars. Now HP is showcasing they know how to build a strong 2-in-1 that people are more likely to use as a 2-in-1.

The HP Spectre Folio

It is my belief that one of the reasons PCs seemed to go into decline was because the PC OEMs stopped pushing innovation—but the HP Spectre Folio is different. There are several innovative things about this product. The first is that this product is wrapped in leather—real leather—not metal or plastic. If you are going to hold a product, it must feel good in your hand. That seems to be a no brainer, but even iPads don’t feel all that good in your hand unless you put them in a case and neither do Kindles or Fire tablets. Even if you look at iPhones—who doesn’t have an iPhone in a case? So why not case the things in leather so they feel good in your hand and, oh by the way, leather is far more forgiving if you drop the device. Granted, my choice for color for this device would be the blue-black HP uses for their high-end consumer laptops but brown and burgundy aren’t bad.

HP Spectre Folio leather 2-in-1

The screen pivots forward, it doesn’t fold back, so the keyboard is under the screen in tablet mode and you hold the leather bottom of the device not the keyboard keys. In addition, this also allows you to swing the bottom of the screen forward when you are watching movies, TV, or YouTube videos. In this mode the keyboard is accessible by lifting or moving the keyboard back and the touchpad remains in full view and accessible as well. When the screen is shifted forward it is far less likely to be broken by a quickly reclining seat in front of you and it brings the image closer to your eyes.

Finally, with around 18 hours of battery life, you can run this thing for almost two 8-hour work days. It also has an LTE option, so you can always be connected (and avoid the hassle and risk of public Wi-Fi access points).

Wrapping Up: Innovating For The Future

I think the supposed “PC decline” was less about some big change in the buying public and more about the lack of demand generation and innovative products. HP has stepped up with both and this new HP Spectre Folio is both innovative and desirable for those that would really like a 2-in-1 personal computer. It has style, it has comfort, and it represents a direction towards innovation that this market has sorely needed. Now if it just came in blue/black.

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About Author

As President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, Rob provides regional and global companies with guidance in how to create credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors and products, and practice zero dollar marketing. For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies like Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, ROLM, and Siemens.

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