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HP’s Pavilion Proves Being First Pays Off

As the saying goes, timing is everything.

Being first to market is always desirable when launching a new product — a goal Hewlett-Packard managed to accomplish several times over with its Pavilion 7955 desktop PC.

HP Pavilion marketing manager Mark Bony, North American Consumer Computing, said with the Sept. 30 launch of the 7955, HP was the first top-tier PC vendor to ship a Microsoft Windows XP-equipped model, beating its competition to market by about two weeks. To ensure it would be first, HP pushed up its normal mid-October fall launch schedule for the 7955 and its other fourth quarter offering, he said.

“There was a huge pent-up demand waiting for XP to come out,” Bony said, describing the benefit derived of having a PC pre-loaded with the new OS.

The 7955 was one of the first PCs to make use of Intel’s Pentium 4 processor line, which was launched by Intel in late September. From a company standpoint, a couple of firsts were also made with the 7955. Carrying a $949 suggested retail, it was HP’s first desktop PC costing less than $1,000 to have 1394 ports and 256MB of RAM, Bony said. The company also redesigned the chassis’ appearance giving customers something they had not seen before.

“Personally, what I think the customers liked was the P4 processor and 256MB of RAM,” Bony said, “and it didn’t hurt that it had a complete optical offering with dual DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives.”

While this specific model was not the top seller for the period, it was a close third; it managed to sell almost as many units as the first and second place models despite costing between $200 and $300 more, according to data from NPDTechworld.