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Amid PC Spin-Off, HP Still Debuting SKUs


Hewlett-Packard’s decision
to ponder selling or spinning
off its personal systems group (PSG)
has not slowed the flow of new products
into the channel.

Xavier Lauwaert, HP’s worldwide
marketing manager, said the company
is still going full-steam ahead with its
holiday product launch, which includes
five new all-in-one computers
and a new laptop.

Officially, HP is stating it would
prefer to spin-off the PSG, stating
that move would be in the best interest
of its shareholders. However, the company intends
to fully investigate all options, including selling
the PSG. The final disposition of the PSG could be
settled by the end of 2011, if not sooner, but the final
implementation of any deal awould extend out 12 to 18
months, a company spokeswoman said.

HP prefers the spin-off because it will allow PSG
to keep its current momentum, the company

The impact that HP’s now-ambiguous
position in the industry will have
on retail sales remains to be seen.
Industry insiders do not think the
brand is going away, a view shared
by HP’s PSG group.

Stephen Baker, industry analysis
VP for The NPD Group, said the
short-term retail impact will be minimal
as the stores have locked in
their holiday season orders, pushing
any affects into 2012.

“Even though HP is exploring
strategic alternatives for its PC business – and could
wind up keeping it – the brand will continue to be a
dominant name in that segment,” said Jeff Davis, senior
sales VP for D&H Distributing.

However, he called the situation in dealing with HP
is very fluid and changing at a fast pace.

Doug Schatz, electronics merchandising VP at
Nationwide, said HP’s departure is only from the
tablet business, and that “the brand won’t disappear
from the landscape.”

Chris Connery, PC and IT displays VP for Display-
Search, said his firm is seeing confusion in the market
concerning whether HP future in the PC business.
This is mitigated to some extent by the fact
that HP is the largest PC
vendor in the world forcing
suppliers and channel
partners to continue
dealing with the company
as normal.

“HP noted that it will
take 12 to 18 months for
any changes to be made,
and it is indeed hard to
turn the Titanic when it is
moving full steam in one
direction. While business
continues, indeed
we are seeing many contingency
scenarios being
developed at many levels
in the supply chain,” he
said, adding the out of the
blue proclamation has created a feeling of limbo surrounding

The one fact that remains clear, Connery said, is
that HP wants no part of the consumer PC business.

Despite that observation, HP went ahead with
a previously announced rollout of all-in-one (AIO)
computers and a new consumer laptop.

HP has introduced five AIOs, the TouchSmart
320, 420 and 520 and the HP Omni 120 and 220.

Lauwaert said HP’s announcements are having no
impact on the company’s product rollout, which he
called aggressive and expansive.

Lauwaert said these AIOs are positioned to go
against midrange PC towers and should eventually
dominate this middle ground. Towers with basic feature
sets will keep the low end, while gaming and
high-powered towers will remain on the top.

The first three models feature a new industrial design
and desk stand that can tilt the screen back to
a 30-degree angle. The screen sizes range from 20
to 23 inches and now all include the Beats audio
technology. Pricing is $599 for the 320, $699 for
the 420 and $899 for the 520. The 420 and 520
will be available on Sept. 11 and the 320 will follow
on Oct. 2.

Respective display sizes are 20 inches, 21.5 inches
and 23 inches and feature the latest version of
HP’s TouchSmart software.

The Omni 120 and 220 AIOs drop the touchscreen
capability and will be targeted at the poweruser
consumer and will bring an AIO in at a lower
price, Lauwaert said.

The 120 features a
20-inch HD display and
750GB hard drive, while
the 220 has a 21.5-inch
screen. Consumers can
choose between an Intel
or AMD processor. Other
shared features include
built-in speakers and HP
LinkUp technology, allowing
them to access data
from other computers via
a home network.

The 120 will ship on
Sept. 21 with a $399
suggested retail, and the
220 will hit on Sept. 11
at $649.

To add further support to the sound system, HP
is selling the HP Pulse Beats-audio equipped subwoofer.
The 60-watt sub will be available on Sept.
21 for $149.

The notebook introduction is the Pavilon DM1-
4010us Entertainment PC.

The device is powered by a 1.65GHz AMD Dualcore
E-450 accelerated processor with 1MB of L2
cache. A version sporting an as-yet-unspecified Intel
processor will also be available. Both versions at
press time had a tentative ship date of Oct. 2, with
the AMD version carrying a $399 suggested retail
and the Intel set at $499.

Other features include 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM
with two additional memory slots and a 7,200 rpm
320GB hard drive.

The screen is an 11.6-inch LED backlit Brightview
display and the notebook has one HDMI, one VGA
and three USB ports. The 3.5-pound computer has
a nine hour battery life and comes with a wide variety
of multimedia software.

Alan Wolf contributed to this story.