How will Hewlett Packard's Envy Spectre XT Complete against Apple's MacBook Air?
John is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
The big tech companies are coming out with the “thin laptop” concept vying for market share and a big battle this year will ensue between Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) with its MacBook Air and Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ),with its light weight version. The portable market is expected to be the next big thing as general PC sales continue to lose market share. Apple has a nice market share already. How does HPQ intend to use the Envy Spectre XT to take market share from Apple?
The spectre XT looks a lot like the Apple even though HP is not trying to mimic the Air. The similarities in thin books are due to using the same technologies implemented to design, and manufacture the laptop. So we have an Ultrabook that is very similar looking to the MacBook Air but the strategy is what is interesting. HPQ is going to be using a $999.99 price tag to compete with Apple’s current MacBook Air entry-level model.
This is a sly move by HPQ. Look at Apple’s entry level system at the same price:
- 11-inch screen Air with 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics 3000 and 2GB memory
Now look at the Envy Spectre XT:
- Features Windows 7 Premium (64-bit), 13.3-inch screen with 1366 x 768 resolution, Ivy Bridge CPU, 4GB 1600MHz DDR3, 128GB SSD, backlit keyboard, HP Imagepad, Beats Audio speakers, a large battery which promises an 8-hour battery life after a single-charge, webcam and free software including antivirus software membership for 2 years and Adobe products.
For the average user, it seems like they can get more computer for the same price. Nice move by HPQ! But-- is packaging going to make a difference?
For some people it might. And in a weak economy like we have, consumers may be bargain conscious. But is a better package by HPQ enough to sway consumers to buy the Envy Spectre XT over the MacBook? The answer to this question may lie in culture and not price. Through the years of careful planning, advertising and high quality product innovation, Apple is seen as an innovative company capable of producing high-quality, easy to use, must-have products like the iPod, the iMac, and the MacBook. Their customers are some of the most loyal and passionate fans around who are willing to camp out for up to five nights in order to get their latest product.
I guess the real question boils down to how loyal are Apple customers in a weak economy like we have? It is not hard to figure out that a frugal bargain hunting shopper who may have never owned an Apple product will look at both thin books and possibly be told by a (poorly informed) sales representative that they are basically the same. So the shopper may pick up the HPQ for the same price and consider it a better bargain. This is a realistic probability considering the global economy. I believe market share will boil down to bargain and brand loyalty.
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