HP has announced that it is looking to reshape the company. 1st, it is killing off its competitor to the iPad called the TouchPad. 2nd, it is killing off the part of the business they acquired with Palm. And 3rd, they want to divest of the PC business, like their best friend IBM did by selling their PC business to Lenovo. People couldn't believe that former CEO Carly Fiorina would bet the company by expanding on a very low margin business by acquiring Compaq. It was a land grab but a huge failure. HP/Compaq computers are ok, no better or worse than any other brand, but their printers, which used to be rock-solid, are essentially ink sucking (or toner sucking if it's a laser printer) plastic contraptions that WILL break before you want it to, while you have the jumbo pack of Costco toner in the drawers that ONLY fit that particular printer. It's sad because I actually have clients that introduce me to their spouses, kids, pets, and HP LaserJet 4, not in that order.
I went to OfficeMax the other day. They've revamped their computer section again (still haven't gotten rid of the 'Control Cntr' Geek Squad failed competition display) and got rid of all but a few desktops and laptops. They had zero netbooks (which is too bad, because if you need a small windows computer, nothing beats them for the price) and one tablet, the HP Touchpad. It was 20% off and no one was buying it. Now, it's $99 for 16 Gig or $149 for 32 Gig. And sold out everywhere. So, if you were lucky enough to get caught up in the frenzy to buy a soon-to-be-not-sold anymore tablet, I am not sure if I am proud of you or if I think you just threw your money away. The HP TouchPad doesn't run Android, which makes it a distant follower behind Apple's iPad 2 and any of the number of Android tablets out there. There are rumors that the Open Source Community (ie
talented nerds with lots of Mountain Dew) are going to port Android to the TouchPad. That would be cool, but if it's like Jailbreaking an Apple or running Linux-of-the-month on a former Windows computer, only the nerds and close followers (nerd hags?, groupies? hangers-on?) will benefit of this cool use of technology. So will it work if you got one? Sure. Will you get bored with it when it stops doing what you want it to do and you'll throw it on eBay thinking that you'll turn a huge profit? Yes, and you won't because everyone else has the same idea and they have more feedback points than you.
Ok, time for another shift. Google bought Motorola Mobility. Motorola makes the Xoom. Well, probably not anymore. And why would Google allow any other hardware manufacturer to license Android for their devices if they are going to potentially start making the devices themselves? I think only time will tell how this will effect the landscape. We've seen the digital camera world crash when people's cell phones could start taking damn good pictures. We've seen the GPS world crash when people's cell phones could start providing turn by turn directions. If people can figure out how to easily print from their cell phones, there goes another chunk of the market where a home computer was necessary.
So what are you going to buy next? Cell phones with LTE will start rolling out ad naseum so it will be time to upgrade those for everyone. LTE will make your existing data network speeds seem like going from VCRs to DVD players. Apple will be rolling out the new iPad 3 in 2012 and Google will come out with their own head to head devices. It's a fun time to watch technology. But, if the Mayans are right, as my 9 year old pointed out this weekend, it won't matter much anyway. Since the world is going to end and cost isn't a concern, go buy that Mac Book Pro you've wanted on the way back from the Porsche dealership.
Adam Freedman is the founder of Dunwoody PC, LLC. He can be reached at 404-702-3726 or on the web at www.dunwoodypc.com