Previous Blogs

September 22, 2023
Microsoft Copilot Updates Push GenAI to the Mainstream

September 19, 2023
Intel Hopes to Reinvent the PC with Core Ultra SOC

September 6, 2023
Google Starts GenAI Productivity Onslaught with Duet AI for Workspace Release

August 16, 2023
Why Generative AI is so Unlike Other Major Tech Trends

August 9, 2023
Nvidia Enhances GenAI Offerings for Enterprise

July 31, 2023
Challenges Remain for Generative AI Tools

July 27, 2023
Generative AI Study Uncovers Surprising Facts on Business Usage

July 26, 2023
Samsung Works to Bring Foldables to the Mainstream

June 21, 2023
HPE Melds Supercomputing and Generative AI

June 14, 2023
AMD Delivers Generative AI Vision

June 6, 2023
Apple wants to redefine computing with Vision Pro headset

June 1, 2023
Hybrid AI is moving generative AI tech from the cloud to our devices

May 23, 2023
Dell and Nvidia Partner to Create Generative AI Solutions for Businesses

May 9, 2023
IBM Unleashes Generative AI Strategy With watsonx

May 4, 2023
Amazon’s Generative AI Strategy Focuses on Choice

April 20, 2023
Latest Cadence Tools Bring Generative AI to Chip and System Design

March 30, 2023
Amazon Enables Sidewalk Network for IoT Applications

March 16, 2023
Microsoft 365 Copilot Enables the Digital Assistants We’ve Always Wanted

March 14, 2023
Google Unveils Generative AI Tools for Workspace and GCP

March 9, 2023
Lenovo Revs Desktop Workstations with Aston Martin

March 1, 2023
MWC Analysis: The Computerized, Cloudified 5G Network is Getting Real

February 23, 2023
Early MWC News Shows Renewed Emphasis on 5G Infrastructure

February 1, 2023
Samsung Looking to Impact the PC Market

January 18, 2023
The Surprise Winner for Generative AI

January 5, 2023
AI To Go Mainstream in 2023

2022 Blogs

2021 Blogs

2020 Blogs

2019 Blogs

2018 Blogs

2017 Blogs

2016 Blogs

2015 Blogs

2014 Blogs

2013 Blogs

TECHnalysis Research Blog

October 10, 2023
HP Highlights PC Design Innovation

By Bob O'Donnell

As someone who’s tracked the PC industry for a long time, I’ve certainly fallen into the camp that innovation in PC design has become stagnant. After all, we’ve had a whole bunch of very similar looking slim lightweight notebook PCs for a long time.

At its recent Imagination event, however, HP discussed two new machines that offer unique designs that not only look cool but also offer genuinely useful innovations. Both the HP Spectre Fold foldable notebook PC and the HP Envy Move “portable” all-in-one desktop PC bring a fresh perspective to PC design.

To start with, the Spectre Fold isn’t the first notebook to leverage a foldable screen, but its clever implementation of the technology makes it the most impressive version that I’ve seen of that new form factor. (Of course, at a price point of $4,999 it’s also one of the most expensive notebooks I’ve seen.) What HP has managed to do is create a design that works as a traditional clamshell notebook, a large tablet, a desktop-like standalone system, and even a funky kind of extended notebook. The company calls it the world’s first 3-in-1, but it’s actually fair to call it a 4-in-1.

The key to it all, of course, is the 17” OLED (2,560 x 1,980 resolution) display panel, apparently manufactured for HP by LG Display. The screen is bright (up to 500 nits in HDR mode) and sharp, and the fold in the middle is less noticeable than the one on my beloved Samsung Galaxy Fold 5 foldable smartphone. HP achieved this by creating a slightly larger 5 mm gap at the fold—think of it as if you were just bending over a piece of paper instead of folding it with a crease—that actually works to the benefit of the design in several ways.

First, that gap was necessary to support the other innovative element in the Spectre Fold: it’s chargeable, magnetic (but unfortunately not backlit) keyboard. In traditional clamshell notebook mode, the keyboard sticks to the bottom half of the folded display and creates a classic notebook experience with a 12.3” display that you can easily carry around and use like a regular laptop. You can also remove the keyboard completely and unfold the display to use it in tablet mode or extend the kickstand at the back of the display to create a 17” all-in-one desktop experience with the keyboard functioning wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Finally, from the traditional clamshell shape, you can pull the keyboard back a few inches and then leverage the additional screen real estate on the bottom display. In fact, HP even worked with Microsoft to add a new option to the Snap Windows feature in Windows 11 that can automatically take advantage of that extra screen real estate. The keyboard has a bend you can use in this mode (making it nearly foldable as well!) that allows for a more comfortable angled typing experience. On top of that, there’s also a bundled pen that’s magnetized and can be attached to the bottom of the keyboard or the notebook, where it can also be charged. All told, it’s about as flexible a design as you can imagine.

In fact, I have to admit that I’ve been much more skeptical about the opportunities for foldable PCs than I was for the foldable phone category, but this HP design has changed my mind. The Spectre Fold offers an impressive array of options for using it—along with impressive technology and technical engineering work inside it to enable these different usage models. It’s certainly not for everyone—and the fact that HP had to go with a lower-power 12th gen Intel CPU and Iris integrated graphics for power-saving purposes is not ideal—but it’s definitely one of the most compelling PC designs I’ve seen in some time.

On the desktop side of things, HP’s Envy Move could arguably be called a one-trick pony in that it’s relatively lightweight (9 pound) all-in-one PC with a built-in battery, but that misses the point of what HP was trying to achieve. What makes the Envy Move, which starts at $899, an intriguing new design is all the attention to detail that HP put into it. First is the handle that allows you to easily pick up and move the machine from place to place. It’s hidden behind the 23.8” QHD+ resolution (2,560 x 1,440) display and immediately pops back into that hidden spot once you release it. The same thing goes for the stand elements at the bottom of the display. Pick the machine up and they automatically rotate to be horizontal with the display. Then, just before you set it down, they switch their orientation 90 degrees to function as a stand. It’s simple, yes, but very cool. Plus, it makes the process of moving the PC that much easier.

And that, of course, is the whole point—hence the name—of the Envy Move. HP thought through all the details of what could make the experience of using the device better in multiple applications and multiple rooms, and they’ve integrated them into the design. Behind the screen, for example, is a mesh net that’s optimized to hold the wireless keyboard with integrated touchpad while you carry it around. The battery life on Envy Move is four hours—long enough for a movie or two and/or an extended gaming session in any place you’d like to use it. HP even automatically adjusts certain display settings depending on how far you are away from the screen, making the process of using the Envy Move as an entertainment device that much easier.

Whether or not these new PC designs translate into significant new sales for HP is an open and likely challenging question. Nevertheless, it is great to see the company offering these kinds of innovative designs, because it not only demonstrates that there’s still fresh thinking occurring in the halls of PC industry stalwarts like HP, but that there are still lots of fresh opportunities to come.

Here's a link to the original column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on LinkedIn at Bob O’Donnell or on Twitter @bobodtech.