COVID blurred the lines between consumer and worker, says HP president – The Verge

January 13, 2022 by No Comments

HP had one of the most expansive laptop launches of this year’s CES. The headliners included two Elite Dragonfly models, a whole gaggle of Windows 11 Elitebooks, and a dump of gaming laptpos and desktops (as well as accessories). We saw the usual spec upgrades: better chips, smaller bezels, better battery life, bigger touchpads, etc.

But a few newer themes ran through HP’s releases and through those of many other major laptop manufacturers as well. Less obtrusive, chic-er looks. Heavier duty chips in chassis that are thinner, lighter, and easier to take from place to place. AI features meant to prevent snooping in public places. Better conferencing technology — lines that have resisted adding webcams for years finally have them. These aren’t changes limited to the business sphere. We’re seeing these trends in consumer lines, gaming lines, workstation lines, and even Chromebooks.

It’s clear what these companies’ market research is showing: people want to work on the move more than ever before, and their definition of “work” is expanding.

That’s certainly what HP has found. “People are working differently,” Alex Cho, HP’s president of personal systems, told The Verge. “People are going to create even more. They’re going to be getting entertained and playing differently. They’re going to connect with other people differently.”

Here’s the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, a device that was previously unthinkable in the business sphere.

Image: HP

It’s hardly a no-brainer that remote work has exploded around the world since early 2020. But there’s certainly been some question as to whether that explosion would lead to temporary trends or longer-term changes to the laptop sphere. Per this CES, it appears that the market has spoken: consumers expect that conferencing and on-the-go work are here to stay.

HP has found that “75 percent of people are now saying they want to set up their permanent home office,” Cho says. Meanwhile, “80 percent of conferencing rooms in the office are being upgraded, because you’re recognizing that ‘I will now be working from home on a permanent basis, and when I go back into the office, I need that office to be far more around collaboration.’” Cho added that 75 percent of people have admitted to judging others based on their appearance on video calls, per HP’s findings.

The new demands extend beyond webcam quality. COVID-19 has driven swaths of people in some countries (the US included) from full-time jobs to freelance work. This means the demand for devices that can serve both as workstations and personal drivers — workstation power in a small, attractive chassis — is higher than ever.

“We’re seeing that a lot of people are having more personal gigs,” says Cho. “They’re creating a lot more on their devices. They’re doing a lot of custom work.”

While many of the biggest “creator” laptops of the past few years have looked more like a gaming laptop than an XPS 13, last year saw a few creation-oriented ultraportables (Acer’s Swift 3X, for example) that tried to bridge the gap. Expect to see more of those in 2022; Cho hinted …….



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