HP had one of the biggest laptop launches at CES this year. Headliners included two Elite Dragonfly models, a slew of Windows 11 Elitebooks, and a dump of gaming laptops and desktops (as well as the accessories). We’ve seen the usual spec improvements: better chips, smaller bezels, better battery life, bigger touchpads, and more.
But a few more recent themes have been released in versions from HP and in those of many other major laptop manufacturers. Less intrusive and more chic looks. Stronger chips in thinner chassis that are lighter and easier to transport from place to place. AI features designed to prevent espionage in public places. Better conferencing technology – lines that have resisted the addition of webcams for years finally have it. These are not changes limited to the business world. We’re seeing these trends across consumer lines, gaming lines, desktop lines, and even Chromebooks.
Market research from these companies clearly shows that people want to work on the go more than ever before, and their definition of “work” is broadening.
This is certainly what HP has found. “People work differently,” said Alex Cho, president of personal systems at HP. The edge. “People will create more. They will be entertained and play differently. They will connect with other people differently.
It is not a given that remote working has exploded around the world since the start of 2020. But there has certainly been a question whether this explosion would result in temporary trends or longer term changes in the sphere. laptops. According to this CES, it seems the market has spoken: Consumers expect conferences and work on the go to be here to stay.
HP found that “75% of people now say they want to set up their permanent home office,” Cho says. Meanwhile, “80% of the conference rooms in the office are being modernized because you recognize that” I will now be working from home on a permanent basis, and when I return to the office I need this office to be away more about collaboration. Cho added that 75 percent of people admitted to judging others based on their appearance in video calls, according to the HP findings.
The new requirements go beyond the quality of the webcam. COVID-19 has pushed swathes of people in some countries (including the United States) to switch from full-time jobs to self-employment. This means that the demand for devices that can serve as both workstations and personal drivers (the power of the workstation in an attractive small chassis) is greater than ever.
“We’re finding that a lot of people have more personal gigs,” Cho says. “They create a lot more on their devices. They do a lot of custom work.
While many of the larger “designer” laptops of recent years looked more like a gaming laptop than an XPS 13, last year a few creative-oriented ultraportables (Acer’s Swift 3X, for example) have attempted to bridge the gap. Expect to see more in 2022; Cho hinted that HP is prioritizing better display technology this year to target this market.
Gaming is also a rapidly growing segment, which the pandemic has accelerated. “It’s not just a lot of people, but there are new segments,” Cho says. HP found that 60% of new players, for example, are women. But gambling, for many of these new users, is more of a social affair than it has been in the past – the isolation that COVID-19 has imposed on many people has made gambling a certain turn as a source. virtual interaction.
“The players play because they want to connect,” Cho explains. “People go online… at set times -” Hey, why don’t we all get along at 8:00 PM? We see it in the demographics of many ages.
This not only means that more people want laptops that can play games; it also means gamers are looking for better keyboards, webcams, and other peripherals that were previously more central to the mainstream laptop sphere. There is more demand for gaming laptops which can also work and personal laptops which can also play.
Much of the marketing for personal technology (laptops included) refers to a “hybrid world”, an “era of remote work” and so on. These terms are used to describe an American workforce which, according to recent estimates, consists of less than 50 percent teleworkers or hybrids. While many people have permanently changed their lifestyle and modernized their home office, there is still a large segment that needs (or wants) to work in person. Are companies like HP planning to divide their products between these segments or focus on products that fit both?
Cho did not answer this question directly. “There are needs that converge because you want a cohesive type of experience, but there are distinct needs in each of the spaces where we continue to innovate,” he said. Note. But the larger point – that the needs of creative business, consumer, gaming and laptop spaces converge and will likely lead to more laptops that fill these categories – is well understood.
It comes with all kinds of questions. On the one hand, laptops for business, gaming and workstations are traditionally much more expensive than consumer laptops of similar quality. The question certainly arises as to whether the encroachment needs of these customers into the sphere of consumption could make the category as a whole less accessible. (HP’s Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, for example, positioned as one of those work and gaming devices, is expected to start at $ 999, which isn’t cheap at all for a Chromebook.)
Several established lines have also made significant compromises on keyboard and touchpad quality this year in the name of thinness and portability – compromises that have been, at least in part, positioned in favor of the use cases of work on the go. It might be a sacrifice the new generation of workers are willing to make, but the MacBooks of the past decade are certainly not the same.
And then there’s the security issue – using the same laptop for work that you use for indie concerts, games, or whatever, is something IT departments have been begging people not to do since nightfall. time. This can potentially compromise your privacy (IT can see everything you do there, after all) and your business information (what if you accidentally copy and paste the wrong thing?).
These are probably bridges that we’ll cross later – laptop production is often a multi-year cycle, and while some features can be added or changed on the fly, it may take some time for the market to see a drastic reimagining of the business. a role of the laptop in the workplace. But over the next five years, Cho hopes the ideal laptop will be the one that “makes the transition easily.” It will recognize “that you use this device to work, but you don’t just work – you check email, you shop.” It certainly seems to be the case for a lot of people. I just hope this is a feature of today’s market, not a bug.