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11 Aug 2003 14:29
Hewlett-Packard is introducing more than 100 new consumer gadgets on Monday, from digital cameras to photo-quality desktop printers, in anticipation of what could be a grinch-like holiday shopping season.
CEO Carly Fiorina and other senior executives were to unveil the devices at a New York gala that HP called its largest product rollout ever. The focus is on photography, entertainment and home computing, including some all-new products and upgrades of HP’s popular printers and other favourites.
The launch party comes as the Palo Alto-based tech giant pushes a marketing campaign centered on simplicity.
The goal is to persuade consumers that HP products are easy and fun—even for technophobes reluctant to dump their 35-milimeter cameras or part with their ancient ink-jet printers.
One product that exemplifies the new thrust, marketing vice-president Chris Morgan said in a telephone interview, is HP’s “all-in-one” line of printers.
The “simple” campaign is likely to become part of HP’s advertising as the tech industry woos holiday shoppers—many of whom may not be in a merry mood.
The 2002 holiday season was the worst in a decade for US retailers. Shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas plunged 11% to $113-billion from the same period in 2001, according to ShopperTrak.
Lingering fears about geopolitical instability and conflict in the Middle East and Africa, a flagging domestic economy and continued unemployment—particularly in the tech industry and among white-collar workers—could mean equally dismal sales this year, economists warn.
Given those concerns, HP and rivals such as Sony, Dell and Apple Computer are eagre to stoke enthusiasm for their gadgets—even long before most consumers think about Christmas presents.
Apple launched a campaign in January geared toward consumers with “digital lifestyles”—technophiles who use their Macs for creative pursuits such as digital art and amateur movie production.
Apple’s bundled suite of “iLife” software, as well as the sleek iPod music player, were the cornerstones of the Cupertino-based computer maker’s attempt to transform the computer into a centre of recreation and creativity.
HP’s rollout comes more than a year after it merged with Compaq Computer and three months after it revamped its strategy for corporate clients. Trying to snare large customers from rival IBM, Fiorina unveiled in May an “Adaptive Enterprise” strategy featuring multimillion-dollar servers that automatically diagnose and repair computer glitches. - Sapa-AP
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