HP Launches 100 Products in Consumer Blitz

Saying it wants to simplify consumer electronics and expand their use, Hewlett-Packard has embarked on an ambitious product rollout, introducing some 100 offerings in the at-home video, digital photography and entertainment spheres.

In addition to those products, many of which are focused on HP’s traditional strengths in imaging and printing, HP’s strategy includes new customer support initiatives and a real-world retail push that will feature HP- and Microsoft-branded products in dedicated areas at major computer stores.

Specifically, on the consumer product side, HP said it will unveil six new photo printers, three digital cameras, two all-in-one printer-fax-scanner-copier combos, two new scanners and an advanced photo printing paper — all in time for the 2003 holiday season.

Fait Accompli?

HP CEO Carly Fiorina, who unveiled the initiative at a New York event, said the push “marks a new beginning for consumers who have been turned off by complicated technology.”

“Our vision is simple: to place you, the consumer, at the center of the digital experience by making technology that is simple, fun to use, and works better together,” Fiorina said.

The strategy is a step toward fully realizing the potential of the merged HP-Compaq, but it also is aimed at revitalizing consumer excitement about electronics in general, according to IDC analyst Danielle Levitas.

Although sales of PCs and peripherals have been steady in recent years, few products that have been brought to market during this period have excited consumers. Even Microsoft’s Tablet PC, touted as revolutionary and backed by scores of hardware makers, has seen sales fall short of robust predictions.

“The strategy recognizes that it’s going to take more than simply rolling out products to get consumers to buy,” Levitas told the E-Commerce Times. “They’re trying to address the whole experience, from buying to support and integration with the computer equipment they already have.”

Pictures, Movies and More

HP’s rollout focuses heavily on digital imaging and includes the first consumer-focused eight-ink photo printer to use studio-grade paper. Many digital devices for playing and storing music, taking and replaying video and storing photos are also designed to work with the printing product line.

HP said its enhanced customer-support lineup will include what it calls HP Total Care, featuring around-the-clock phone support and same-day PC repair in some locations. The company also touted what it calls retail experience centers — areas of CompUSA, Circuit City and other brick-and-mortar computer stores where HP and Microsoft products will be featured.

The rollout builds on a reported US$1 billion investment in research and development by HP, primarily focused on its imaging product line.

Among the new products is the HP PSC 2510 Photosmart, a multipurpose machine with wireless functionality that will let users send photos directly to the printer from digital cameras; enhanced printing software; and HP Everyday Photo Paper, a lower-cost alternative to the traditional photo printing medium.

Other products that go beyond the imaging base include a DVD movie recorder designed to let consumers convert VHS to digital format, and a Pavilion notebook series geared toward home-movie and photo enthusiasts.

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