I was at the HP Power of Print event this month, and it got me thinking about what the perfect product would be that would showcase most of the firm’s technology; I realized they didn’t have one. On the PC side, they have the Dragonfly. On the printer side, HP’s color 3D printer likely comes the closest to showcasing that part of the company. But there isn’t a product that blends the two.
I suspect that Dell and Lenovo have the same issues. I think it is important to have a definitive product. In the auto business, Audi has the Q8, which showcases the full capability of Audi; at GM, it is the new 2020 Corvette; at Ford, the Mustang Mach-E.
So I thought it would be fun this week to imagine the perfect PC product that would showcase what each of these companies brings to the table.
Let’s explore that this week; we’ll go alphabetically.
This conceptual product is arguably the most difficult product to define, because Dell is the largest and most diverse of the vendors. Dell has Alienware on one side and EMC on the other, so its product would have to be gaming-capable yet heavily leverage Dell’s server and storage technology. Since you and I as consumers aren’t going to be buying servers or storage-class products anytime soon, this means the product must encompass gaming but be tied into the Dell Cloud and wrapped with services.
This definitive product would be an all-in-one PC with an Alienware industrial design tied back to the Dell back end for near unlimited virtual performance. This solution also would leverage VMware in the cloud to make it work. Given Dell’s focus on monitors—really, really big monitors—it should have a large screen as well as a 5G connection to provide a plug-and-play experience while isolating the user from patches.
Given that Dell is also an enterprise-class vendor and a leader in workstations, this cloud connection would also allow the all-in-one to function as a workstation with unbelievable performance. So a workstation-class, thin-client, all-in-one with a hard tie to the Dell cloud wrapped with Dell security, with an Alienware ID and a dual personality that encompasses both workstation and gaming performance extremes largely by leveraging cloud resources.
HP is a lot simpler, but for them, as noted above, the perfect product would need to be a blend of its Dragonfly laptop and Color 3D printer. Building a 3D printer into a laptop will one day be cool, but we are a long way from that event. This limitation suggests that instead, the product should have the Dragonfly core but a case that comes from the HP Color 3D printer that the user could define at purchase.
What I’m imagining is a laptop that is designed to have a custom exterior that could be specified and upgraded by the user, which in turn could be printed on HP’s color 3D printer. Let’s call it hyper-personalized. Users could even compete for who had the best designs, and HP could set up a way to buy designs created by others and share some of the revenue with them. Let’s say you are a professional gamer with a lot of followers; you could design a custom laptop shell and then open the design up to your fans, who then would purchase varients of it all printed with HP’s Color 3D printers.
HP could partner with someone like Disney for fan designs that would share revenue with Disney, or Disney could subsidize them as part of a promotion, better connecting that company with its laptop-using fans. It would have a built-in Tile tracker like the latest Dragonfly and contain the full security stack from its privacy screen to its use of Deep Instinct AV just as it is in the Dragonfly.
What makes Lenovo unique is that it is the only vendor of this set that has PCs, servers and phones with Motorola. It is also moving into services, and this is something the company would also want the product to showcase. Services don’t scale down very well individually, but you could pool the individuals and create something unique. Lenovo is also doing a lot of interesting work with head-mounted displays and foldable screens and it has ThinkPads, which are arguably the best business notebooks in the market.
This all means the product needs to blend telephony, unique display technology, services, ThinkPad concepts and servers into one offering. So I’m thinking a dedicated cloud tied to this product, which is 5G connected (Lenovo is the first to market with a Qualcomm 5G laptop), Qualcomm-based, a ThinkPad using either a foldable display or a head-mounted display, wrapped with services that provide a plug-and-play solution and tied to servers that provide the performance boost that will showcase Lenovo’s back end.
This offering would be a showcase product that Lenovo could send to midmarket and enterprise customers with the user experience that the company could provide and a blend of telephony and PC technology (maybe it uses the Motorola Razr as both an authentication platform and a dedicated tethered modem) and that would allow the user to seamlessly move from phone to PC during a conference/video call as needed.
Every company needs a “halo” product that showcases the capabilities of the company—something that says, “This is our unique superpower, and if you find what we did for ourselves compelling, realize we could do the same for you either completely or at any granularity you want. The kind of product that screams this is who we are, and when we put our minds to it, this is how we kick butt.”
This would be a product/service that highlights the firm's combined strengths and points out aspects of the company that offerings out of a part of the company generally can’t.
I’ve taken a shot at what I think a product like this would look like out of Dell, HP and Lenovo. But I’ll bet there are folks out there who can think of even better blends. If so, I’d love to hear from you. Regardless, this concept is something to ponder this week.
Rob Enderle is a principal at Enderle Group. He is a nationally recognized analyst and a longtime contributor to QuinStreet publications and Pund-IT.