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back to article HP's UK PC boss: We're going nowhere

HP's UK Personal Systems Group head Paul Hunter has sent round an open letter urging calm on recent news that the ink giant is rethinking its PC strategy. This was widely reported as "HP gets out of PCs" – not hugely surprising given IBM's similar strategy. But Hunter said: "Let me be absolutely clear in saying that at no stage …

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Facepalm

Two words...

"New Coke".

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Nice hardware...poor software

Ok so I got the $100 touchpad, who could pass up a deal like that even if I only use it for surfing, reading and angry birds. Problem is the Kindle app is beta and I can't sideload any of my books.

No wonder its only $100....I would be freaking out if I paid the original price and undoubtedly taking it back.

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Mushroom

Yeah, here is how it works...

non apple tablets are worth less than £100, that is the lesson there...

as for PC's - pay 250 quid more and get an apple, what is the point of getting a lesser machine?

Looks like its going to be a tough year for pedlars of cheap plastic craptops / desktops.

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Gimp

Get back in your box

I'm warning you; I'll get the cattle prod!!

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Cuckoo

Funny - to spec up a similar Apple machine to my PC would cost 50% more (e.g. closer to 3 grand than 2) - and my choice of games would be seriously limited and, let's be realistic here, if you're spending 2 grand on a PC you're going to be gaming on it (and/or making or modding games perhaps and using 3d apps like Maya).

And the really daft thing is, if you're NOT going to play games on it then a <£500 PC will probably do you - in which case you're looking at maybe a 100% markup (or more) to get a Mac.

The ONLY point I can see in Macs is as an expensive niche device for people who want to use Logic Studio - I don't even think they're very pretty, the case designs look like something Lian-Li were doing about a decade ago and the OSX UI is well, grey - but for some reason Macolytes seem to equate the "PC" with Windows 95 in a biege box from 15 years ago.

Enjoy your lunch Mr. Troll.

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Compuling

The massive multicore *nix machine I am sat at right now is for compiling things fast, so not specked out exactly for games (needs a better graphics card for that). However I loosely agree with your point that Apples cannot be seriously chosen as a better spec machine vs. an HP

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Interesting take...

That is an interesting take on it, but I think what can be learned from this is that the perceived value of tablets by their manufacturers is much higher than the perceived value of tablets by the purchasing public. On this side of the pond $99.00 is far too little, $599.00 is far too much.

Just for the fun of it lets look at a tablet and a notebook PC from the same manufacturer.

The notebook

Acer Aspire AS5552-7420 LX.R4402.253 Notebook PC - AMD Phenom II Dual-Core N660 3.0GHz, 6GB DDR3, 640GB HDD, DVDRW, 15.6" Display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit''

The tablet

Acer Iconia Tab A500-10S32c XE.H6LPN.003 Tablet - NVIDIA Tegra 250 Dual-Core 1.0GHz, 1GB DDR2, 32GB Storage, 10.1" Multi-Touch Display, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Dual Webcams

The Prices

Laptop: $439.99

Tablet: $469.99

Which one would you buy if you only had $500.00 in your budget?

$350.00 for that tablet would be about the right price, then sell the case, keyboard et all as accessories.

ASUS has their prices a little closer to where they should be with the 16 GB Transformer @ $399.99, but they mess up when it comes to the 32GB model, charging $100 more for an extra 16GB of RAM, putting their 32GB version a full $30.00 more than the Acer.

Price these @ $350.00 and $400.00 and they would fly off the shelves.

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WTF?

I hope you do realize

that a 2000$+ PC is an expensive niche device for people who are interested in games. As for the beauty of the case designs, I could show you a few designed for gamers that would tell everything about the taste of those who are buying them. Yes, paying more for an Apple computer is about in the same range of insanity like spending 600$ for a video card or countless hours spent searching for those components that will give you 3 extra fps.

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What on Earth is This About? The rest of the world just want it to work

Lot of meaningless stuff above about strange techy things no one understands, outside techies and maybe gamers of limited social skills, which is why Macs sell.

The computer for the rest of us. Easy to use , truly intuitive and looks good, it does all the things techies like to control and the majority of users don't understand or care about for you. That alone is worth a few hundred to most users, and is only a negative to the minority who have a clue what any of that speccy stuff is about. I am technical, just not self absorbed enough to think most of the world is or wants to be. Owning a PC is nghtmare of inpenetrable UI, incompatibilities and upgrades that don't quite work out, because they are modular not integrated.(and HP's printer software if you made that mistake as well.

PS Could not believe how MS trashed all the hard workwe put in learning 2000/XP Interface and hid the same old familiar PC BS, which almost worked well in XP, under yet another impenetrable layer of new unintuitiveness called Windows Seven (Now! - with added network "security" difficulties). How disrespectful of our time are they? Now if you could run OSX on a PC .... but its not integrated enough....... back to the real world.....

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Took them by surprise?

What planet are they on? When was the last time good kit at a cheap price didn't sell?

Most tards here have been saying tablets are too expensive for what they do. And this fire sale has proven it.

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Holmes

No Shit Sherlock.......

"The sheer scale of interest in the discounted products took us a little by surprise."

DUH, slash the price of a half decent tablet and people will buy them well who'd a thunk it?

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And according to the reviews...

...it was at best a half-decent tablet. The geeks who bought at the fire-sale probably knew what they were getting. As for the innocents who just saw a sub $100 tablet which was incompatible with Android, I wonder how they feel they made out.

Furthermore, there's not much point in saying that the way to succeed in selling against Apple is to sell your tablet at less than cost, unless you're in for the long game and have deep pockets.

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dick head indeed

the long game is the only way to beat apple in this market, and HP have appropriately sized pockets, so selling this machine at a loss would have been a perfectly sensible approach. It's what got microsoft into the console business quite successfuly. A touchpad is a perfectly good youtube playing, website surfing, email getting tablet.

As for "innocents who saw a tablet incompatible with android", get real. If it's not an iOS device then it's os is pretty irrelevant in this market. Most innocents don't care about android they care about facebook, email and youtubes. That on a tablet for <£100 is why these things are selling now.

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Anonymous Coward

There appear to be dozens of Android tablets for less that $100.

And they don't seem to be flying off the shelves. At least they will be compatible with the Android store, plus they can do YouTube, email, etc stuff.

What will be the future of the WebOS App Store? Who will do the next Angry Birds, or whatever?

I suspect that most of the non-geek (as well as a large proportion of the geek) purchases will be consigned to the bottom of a cupboard within 2 months.

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Stop

Not compatible with Marketplace

As these cheapo tab manufacturers are I will hazard a guess not paying Google for their upsells, but simply using the free version of Android, they will not have Android Marketplace (nor Google Maps, GMail etc.) so your assertion is more than likely incorrect.

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WTF?

Value for Money

Whether a product sells (if not as fad or status symbol) is on the basis of perceived value for money.

HP seems to have demonstrated that a reasonably good tablet at a lower price sells. The sub-$100 (which seems to be sub-£100 in the UK) Android tablets are simply showing they are still too overpriced for what they are. Simples.

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FAIL

Hardly Surprising

"The sheer scale of interest in the discounted products took us a little by surprise"

Hardly surprising. If tablets sold for less than what a decent spec full-size laptop sells for, then of course they'll sell like hot cakes! Even considered one myself at that price, and I'm a tablet nay-sayer!

Same with netbooks. They were popular when they were cheap and cheerful small Linux notebooks. Once they were specced up to run Windows 7, with a price-tag of a full laptop, they stopped being as popular. Industry insiders figured that noone wanted netbooks anymore.

To the contrary, people want cheap tech.

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Cheap Tech

"Same with netbooks. They were popular when they were cheap and cheerful small Linux notebooks. Once they were specced up to run Windows 7, with a price-tag of a full laptop, they stopped being as popular. Industry insiders figured that noone wanted netbooks anymore.

To the contrary, people want cheap tech."

Sorry, your point was so good, I just wanted to quote it again.

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Not just cheap tech

If all people wanted was cheap tech then they wouldn't buy shiny shiny in such huge numbers. Your basic point is valid: the poor value proposition. Apple is able to offer the Apple brand and the expectation that anyone can use the device and they will never ever have to answer a technical question. Other brands have to come up with their own value proposition otherwise they are destined for the bargain basement. The lack of sales for largely comparable products is customers expressing "make me a better offer, gov" for products that they might like but don't feel they need.

If Google can continue to polish Android and the OEMs continue to improve their manufacturing then it's conceivable that the perception of Apple's added value will change as has to a large degree happened with the phones where Droids are no longer the toys of the elite or Fanboi wannabes.

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"To the contrary, people want cheap tech."

to extend that- People want disposable tech- Many know that the shiny gadget they have today will be superseded by an even shinier gadget within 12 months.

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People want value

If people think that there is going to be a new shiny-shiny in 12-18 months that they are going to want, that makes the value of the current purchase less. If they feel that the same item is still going to be useful in 4-5 years, then the value is more and they are willing to spend more.

Witness the MS ad campaign where they say "Julie thinks her 3 year old PC is still fine, so we put a shop in her home to show how shite it really is..." Said PC will probably be perfectly serviceable for a good 2 more years, considering the use she puts it to. If she paid £600, that makes a big difference on the spend/year.

People want to know that they aren't wasting their money. A quality build that they feel comfortable with can charge more than some dodgy chinese knock-off.

Of course this runs completely counter to the manufacturer's needs, who just want our money.

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Windows

"It's better with Windows"

Dotdavid kinda proves the point it isn't. As said, "Cheap and cheerful" Linux boxes float my boat *for their intended purpose*. Does the job.

Now, where's the "cutie using an Asus 701 on the beach" icon? No, not the Paris one, I doubt she could find the power switch (unless it was at least 8" and pink...)

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it was never a bad product to begin with

The touchpad was pretty good from the start (well, i liked it at least). with the now sub-bargain price, it's no surprise that interest has skyrocketed, it's on par with other slabs and is a real steal at the current price.

Heck, i'm even contemplating getting one myself.

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@Danny 5 - you'll be lucky....

...there are none left at the sub-bargain price. Most of them are now on eBay and seem to be selling for about £200.

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Happy

@Martin

HP have said that they will be shipping more units into the country.

However it is not clear yet if they will be available thorugh reseller channels or direct from HP. Also not clear exactly when they will be available but I would expect them soonish.

What is clear is that they will be sold at the bargain price.

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Could use with some new placemats!

And these are way cheaper than the Ipad2 at that.

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could this indicate people thought it was over priced??

at more than the price of a reasonable laptop wit little if any more functionaility than a smart phone what do they expect?

it is basically a wifi enabled browser that doubles as a media player and photo frame, you can download a few "apps" which are gimicky and you will easilly get bored with

no expansion with SD cards etc, no 3g, tied to HP branded docks and keyboards and WEBOS which is proprietory to HP until andriod is ported over shortly TOTAL FAIL

poor product which was over priced in the current climate, HP do not have the appeal of apple where people buy it because it has the apple logo on, HP and other manufacturers have to build worthwhile product at a reasonable price

HP failed until the price fell to a level people though was reasonable for the product

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Pint

This is a slightly impassioned complaint, but..

You're basically right.

No SD card slot

No USB host support

No HDMI

Terrible video codec support

Heavier/thicker than iPad 2, yet with poorer battery life.

Laggy scrolling in the browser and occasional lock ups.

The full price simply wasn't worth it.

Now it's dirt cheap, I have one!

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Well.. you can fix some of those problems...

> Terrible video codec support

Only in the bundled player. There are apps in both preware and the app catalog that play most formats.

> Laggy scrolling in the browser and occasional lock ups.

Set logging to minimal, then install all the log disable patches from preware = speedy, non laggy tablet.

> The full price simply wasn't worth it.

This is true.

> Now it's dirt cheap, I have one!

Me too :-)

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WTF?

Cancel the lot

Is this part of a strategy? Is HP going to announce the cancellation of all of its product lines in an effort to get folk to buy them?

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Facepalm

signs of a Managerial 'U' turn then...

This will be par for the course with many modern managers.

'We are going to do this...'

Wait a few days

'No I didn't say that'

Do something completel different.

All it needs is a picture of John Cleese sitting behind a desk in the sea saying,

'And now for something complete different'

Then a big foot appears and stamps on his head.

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Joke

Ahah!

"We are now working on ensuring everyone that owns a webOS device has a positive experience"

So *they're* the source of the recent leaks of Android for the TouchPad.

I joke... I joke...

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How can it be a surprise!?

The 16gb It was sold to the public for £89 (sold out that day) and us staff were offered it for £69 (sold out in about 60 seconds).

At this price it was cheaper than a Kindle so if used to read books and nothing else it was worth buying.

I always said they should have slightly undercut the iPad to start with just to entice people to take the risk on a new, bespoke OS which had absolutely no market share. Selling at the same price as the iPad pretty much guaranteed poor sales.

Selling it so insanely cheap, what did they expect!?

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Re How can it be a surprise!?

I do wonder how many in the supply chain reached the public and not bought by shop staff. It would explain why Comet refused to sell me a display one on Tuesday, claiming that it hadn't been discontinued and they would be getting more in.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Demo units tend to be under different SKUs, on the stock file. Normally listed for something like £999. They also tend to get shipped back to the manufacturer when the product is discontinued.

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Hitler learns HP is abandoning WebOS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaeOXyA7wo0

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So they are staying in the pc business, or maybe not, or.....?

I am sure that I am not the only one who has now concluded that HP should fire their communications advisers and stop up the mouths of all their senior managers with super glue. How did we get the impression that they were about to completely torch that side of their hardware interests, why from *them* over the course of the last few days. An absolute object lesson in how *not* to communicate with your customers, shareholders and employees.

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Once upon a time

Once upon a time if a firm wanted to intruduce a new product they would sell it at cost or near cost as an introductory offer.

That was in the days when merchandisers ran merchandising. Now everything is run by beancounters who have little idea about merchandising, if it's as good as or nearly as good as the competitor, then it will sell at that competitors price they say. Bollocks, I say, get it out there at a price that will carve itself a place in the market. When it achieves that, then the special price ends or a new model begins at a not so special price.

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Indeed.

Alway thought it better to sell lots of a product at £100 than none at £500.

It was like CDs years ago. I would buy at £10 but at £15? No way. They lost a sale.

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Well ...

... provided you can still make money at £100. Otherwise you're better off working on something else.

The other thing is that gets you into that "race for the bottom" that we all know and loathe.

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WTF?

Not quitting the PC business.

"Spun off" - quitting the PC business.

"Sold" - quitting the PC business.

"Kept in the HP portfolio" - not quitting the PC business.

So he's got a 1 in 3 chance of being right and everyone else 2 in 3 then? I know where my money is....

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Re

Wrong. Spun off means not quitting the PC business. Just means the same company will have two earnings calls and two stock prices.

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Flame

HP moots new business plan

1) Sell products at a substantial loss.

2) ...

3) Bankruptcy.

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jai
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wonder at impact on tablet market

the Touchpad firesale has probably caused quite a lot of people who were tablet-sceptic to give it a try. this will probably boost the tablet market quite a bit, and in a couple of years, once the touchpad is too slow and too unsupported to be useable, there's going to be a lot of people buying apples or samsungs to replace it

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Re

Unless this is a ploy to get 2mil+ units out there.

Tomorrow

HP: Hey developers, remember how no one uses WebOS? We have 2 mil units live now. Go go App Store.

Developers: HOLY CRAP.

HP: Oh by the way, Touchpad 2 will be out in November. Have fun.

Customers: DO WANT.

Apple: Mr Jobs whar are youzzzzz!! Halps!!!

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anyone have a touchpad they want to sell

couldn't order one anywhere

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HP going nowhere?

That might well be true but it's not what Hunter said!

Actually HP laptops aren't all cheap plastic craptops. An organisation I'm associated with has just bought a 13.3" Core i3 Probook and it's quite a nice machine in a rugged metal case. The only problem is that it runs Windows 7 (necessary for the software we wanted to run) and the touchpad is horrible to use if you're used to Apple's.

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Holmes

Been saying this for a long time

My guess is that no-one's done good quality price research here yet. A good quality full-specced sub £170 tablet will sell in huge huge volumes because people will buy several (it's a bit like Nintendo DS's once one child has one - all the children in a family have to have one). I can be reading tech news while watching football on TV, while my other half reads the Daily Mail and the children mess around on Facebook for instance.

Apple's shown there is demand at the luxury end of the market (a bit like a coffee table showpiece) but it's not at a one-per-child price. Rather than compete to sell one against Apple, compete for the much larger volume of several per household.

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But which is better? FIIIIIIGHT!

I like new technology. I like obsolete technology. Sadly I missed out on this chance to buy something that is both.

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DAMMIT!

I realised heard they were discounting them and assumed it would be like 2-300, still too much for something I don't have a real need for. <100?!!?! That's a ridiculous price. HP just doesn't have a clue. I would have got one like a shot if I'd realised they were that cheap! Dammit, dammit, dammit!

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