Swimming with the Sharks...

I am currently on vacation with my family. Yesterday we were diving with some friends and on the last dive we were surrounded by 30+ extremely large sharks! -- needless to say it was quite an unforgettable experience. That's me in the picture keeping my hands together to keep them from getting bitten. So, I'm still here until next week, and I doubt I'll be doing any major updates until then.

In the meantime, please enjoy the complete interview that I had with Dailytech recently;

What is the most underserved market in PCs, and what does HP-Voodoo plan to do about it?

There are a number of areas which are underserved in the PC market, but honestly we don’t want to give our competition any more advice on how to run their business. At this point we’ll have to leave it up to them to figure out.

That said; a better question might be “How does HP-Voodoo view the PC industry, and how do you plan to change it?”

The fact is things have been stale – Kristopher you know it as well as I do. Let’s face it, there are only so many ways you can “paint a box” before you have to ask yourself “WTF am I doing here?”

Sure there has been consolidation both on the chipset side and the OEM side, but as of yet things have been quiet. Well that’s all about to change – last week in San Francisco HP put together a bit of a technology shaker where we showcased some of the innovative technologies coming out of HP Labs. It became clear that there has been work going on even prior to the Voodoo acquisition and now the wheels are spinning freely, and things are anything but status quo.

How do we plan to change things? Well, we are pretty confident that our roadmap is solid. The reason we are confident is simple: HP did not put a bunch of middle age men in a room and say “hey fellas, let’s start being cool and edgy – yeah! we’ll use words like dude and diddy!” ….

Instead they acquired VoodooPC, and under leaders like Todd Bradley and Phil McKinney we at the HP Gaming team have inspired one-another to believe that it can be done – and now we’re really doing cool things. I mean really frickin cool.

Can you give us more info about this fourth brand slated below Voodoo and above HP?

At the event we showed a slide which displayed the three master brands at HP. We have Voodoo, HP, and Compaq. Compaq is very popular in emerging markets, and it’s one of the most popular brands in the world. It’s also well known around the world as an extremely affordable quality product with no frills, and simple configurations. HP is certainly more personal and as you have seen the Personal Again campaign – HP is no longer your grandma’s PC. You can buy HP online and configure it however you want, and of course you can also buy HP in retail. Voodoo is on the extreme tip of the pyramid, offering insane levels of personalization, incredible performance, and a fanatical approach to customer service.

We recognized that there is a gap between HP and Voodoo – and we believe this gap is significant enough that we need to jump into the sandbox and draw the line. We never said anything about creating a fourth brand but there is indeed speculation. Stay tuned to find out what’s really going on.

I can confirm that HP is taking this space seriously, and the gloves are off – we’re ready for a cage match.

What other Voodoo projects have you been working on at HP since the 2006 acquisition?

Well, we have been exploring all types of technologies which pertain to gaming, including handheld, display, interface, and many others. We have enough intellectual property within HP to wallpaper the building. These research scientists within HP Labs are absolute geniuses, they have some interesting projects yet to be unveiled. The interesting thing is many of the projects they are working on are not specific to gaming - we have recognized these areas and the creative juices are flowing.

Gaming has created new excitement within HP – you can literally feel the energy in the building. The hallways are buzzing with excitement, and people are talking.

There are many new projects we are working on, and many more to come. Overall we have been relatively quiet - but I assure you we are not getting any sleep.

When will we see a shipping HP-Voodoo project?

As I said at the event in San Francisco, our funnel is full of ideas; you’ll see some new stuff as early as this year. Stay tuned.

Why did Voodoo opt to skip over the CableCard PCs that we are seeing at other boutique vendors right now?

Well, first of all CableCard technology sucks in its current form. I can only assume that anyone selling it now is probably doing it for the P.R. - Maybe it’s just me, but I believe being the first to launch a POS isn’t exactly good P.R.

Also, from what I understand some companies who claim to “have it ready” are shipping machines without the cards and a coupon to get the cards when they are available. That’s a pretty unique customer experience.

I also hate the way cable & satellite signals are handled on the PC – I know there are better ways to make it easier on the consumer.

It should also be known that we have been working on this technology far and away before any of the boutique vendors currently, and as of yet we aren’t yet satisfied. That’s not to say that the existing technology won’t improve, because it should – and when it does we’ll let you know when/if a new ARIA will be ready.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you Rahul. Cable cards won;t be ready until. 1. they are 2 way and you can order content on demand. 2 Watch both standard and high definition content on your PC. 3. use your PC as a DVR to store digital content quickly and easily and organize it in a logical fashion jsut liek any DVR. Enjoy your vacation. Can't wiat to see an HP gaming PC. hoping for aluminum case, large power suply, zalman fan, and top fo the ling video card.

Anonymous said...

Really nice shot of you with that shark, however, I have trouble finding out if that is you or someone else.

I'm really eager to find out what the first product HP-Voodoo will introduce onto the market will be and when you will introduce that product.

Other than that, I wish you and the entire team at HP Labs a fun and rewarding time!

Rahul Sood said...

:) yes it was me...

Kempton said...

Hi Rahul,

Oh man, I got scared by simply looking at the picture of you and the shark. (smile)

Nice interviews. Can't wait to see what Voodoo-HP comes up with. And more importantly, how will Voodoo change HP.

Kenji Mapes said...

Of course it was Rahul, don't yo see the fear in his eyes? ;-)