Should the market ‘Envy’ the HP SpectreXT?

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A few months back Intel introduced the ‘Ultra’ revolution in the notebook segment with its Intel inspired Ultrabooks. Almost every vendor took up the idea and brought out products claiming to give the fastest and powerful notebook experience. Adding to the ever growing family, HP too, recently announced a new addition to its Ultrabook family, the Envy SpectreXT. Claiming to be an ultra-mobile premium Ultrabook, HP says it is a category expansion rather than setting a new trend in the market. But what is the real differentiator if we look at other brands announcing or launching other similar products with an ultra touch?

Rajiv Srivastava, Vice president and General Manager, Printing and Personal Systems, HP, thinks that HP clearly differentiates its positioning in two very distinct parameters. “One of the attribute is the way the product has been designed and grafted with very clean lines, textural, and very contemporary, therefore, it is kind of an up-market product. The other thing is with all the functions and all the features, the Ultrabook is a feature rich or functional product for a customer to buy. The blending of these two, i.e style and substance of functionality, is something that qualifies for uniqueness and therefore, HP is uniquely positioned to bring these two attributes to the table,” he adds.

Rajiv Srivastava

Rajiv Srivastava, Vice president and General Manager, Printing and Personal Systems, HP

But with the competition in the segment is this really HP’s USP? HP claims that its selling points are many, and clearly brand is one of them. Surely, it is one thing that helps but it does not get huge amounts of sale by itself. HP’s Srivastava says that since it has a wide range of product offerings it is the broadest amongst the competitors and it fits into the usage pattern of everybody, whether it is a student, young professional, educationist, on the move consumer or a high end consumer. HP also banks on the kind of consumer experience that it provides. He says, “Experience is not only about the style and substance of the product itself but the emotional bond that we have, before the consumer buys, during the buying process and after-sales.”

Bharat Nagpal, technology Consultant, iGyaan, opines that Intel is constantly pushing Ultrabooks using key players like HP. It is trying to phase out notebooks and convert the consumer base in to Ultrabook users. “It is not a category killer but a category evolution. The evolution started off with the MacBook Air and other players took about a year to get the technology and make the laptop slimmer and smaller but were unsuccessful. Intel then thought of calling in their architecture for a less power hungry, less heat generating technology where the new chips are more power efficient and cool when they run, hence, Ultrabooks were born. What happens is that it is a gradual evolution for that segment, a notebook essentially had to become, thinner and lighter, and more power efficient,” he feels.

With this new product, who is HP targeting and how is it doing so? The HP Envy TV commercial has been running, which the brand claims will continue for a while with refreshes and new additions.

Srivastava explains that the dimensions of marketing is how the brand reaches to the consumer, therefore, the brand creates demand with the advertising but it has also got to have a strong retail network and digital presence where the customers can see the product, decide from the range. “One has to make sure that one is adequately emphasising all these elements: TVC, press, retail expansion and online and one can find HP in every space,“ he adds.

Bharat Nagpal

Bharat Nagpal, Technology Consultant, Igyan

With HP claiming this to be just another addition to its portfolio and Ultrabooks being a category expansion, how will Ultrabooks pump up the sales of HP in terms of market share? Will this bring a shift in the market in some way? Srivastava thinks that it is too early to comment, however, he claims that by next year Ultrabooks will own 15 per cent of the market and 40 per cent the year after. He feels the game changer will be when the volumes increase there will be cost optimisation. Pegged at Rs 64,990, HP claims to command a permium market, as it is a premium player. “The differentiation is not the pricing but the experience, it is a great price for a customer to get a style and substance machine,” Srivastava appends.

The road not taken
The core TG for HP constitutes people who are on the move including professionals, who need a knowledge base to be with them all the time. Srivastava feels, “There are people who will shift purchase to Ultrabook because it is light, fashionable, savvy and makes for a style statement. And because it has an instant start you will also find corporate people being attracted to it.”

Nagpal, however, refutes by saying that as a manufacturer HP has not been very active in India with its flagship units, “Ultrabooks were always flagship units and HP had never thought that they needed a market for that, now since every vendor has started coming in with the Ultrabooks, HP has taken a key interest. HP as a notebook vendor has also improved in the last year, but now with the Ultrabook, the chances will become better, especially with the two new products that they have launched,” he sums up.

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