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The pandemic proved that ‘the PC is essential’: HP executive

Daniel Howley
·Technology Editor
·4 min read
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The coronavirus pandemic forced millions of people around the world to turn their living rooms into their new offices. And one of the biggest beneficiaries of this transformation has been the PC market.

According to Canalys, the PC market grew by a whopping 25% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, with more than 90 million units shipped worldwide. And at CES 2021, the annual consumer electronics showcase, PC makers like HP are hoping to keep the growth going with a slew of innovations geared toward working from home.

While some employees may return to the office after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, some surveys show the shift towards more remote work will outlast the pandemic.

“We've realized in the past year is that the PC is essential,” HP (HPQ) Personal Systems President Alex Cho told Yahoo Finance Live. “We're announcing here at CES, several things focused on a complete experience for the hybrid workforce, because that will definitely be the future.”

Those include dramatically improved webcams, something that has proven incredibly important for remote work; lightweight designs that allow you to move around your home without breaking a sweat; and a new laptop designed specifically for creators.

Making working from home easier

First up is the HP Elite Dragonfly G2. Launching later this month — pricing has yet to be announced — the Dragonfly G2 weighs just 2.2 pounds and packs Intel’s 11th-generation U-series Core processors. The 13-inch system, which also sports 5G and 4G LTE connectivity as well as high-speed Wi-Fi 6, is meant to help users stay connected whether they’re working from home or on the road. To that end, the company has also integrated a Tile tracker, to help you find your G2 if you happen to misplace it.

Then there’s the Dragonfly Max. Also available later this month, the Max is HP’s standout collaborative system, according to Cho. The Max, Cho said, features a “significantly better webcam so you can see better and or be seen better” as well as improved and additional mics.

The HP Dragonfly Max offers an improved webcam and audio features designed specifically for remote work. (Image: HP)
The HP Dragonfly Max offers an improved webcam and audio features designed specifically for remote work. (Image: HP)

The 13-inch Max’s 5 webcam promises to produce a clearer image, while its four wide-range microphones and included AI-powered HP Sound Calibration is designed to cut down on background noise that creeps into users’ video chat conversations.

Powered by 11th-generation Intel Core processors and up to 32GB of RAM, the Max also features HP Eye Ease technology, which reduces the strain on users’ eyes.

Finally, there’s the HP Envy 14. Packing a 14-inch display, the Envy 14 is meant to be the kind of laptop that creators use either at home or while on the go.

“We're announcing a new Envy platform...really curated for people who create,” Cho said. “What does that mean? We actually watched people creating. What do they need? They need as much real estate on a display. So we get increased real estate through a new 16 x 10 screen size.”

The HP Envy 14 promises powerful performance, and a suite of upgrades for working from home. (Image: HP)
The HP Envy 14 promises powerful performance, and a suite of upgrades for working from home. (Image: HP)

The Envy is a powerhouse machine with an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 1650 TI graphics chip. Beyond its impressive performance capabilities, the Envy 14 also includes a slew of features meant for improving video chatting such as a dedicated mute button, an AI background noise reduction, and HP Enhanced Lighting, which uses the display to light up a user’s face, improving how they look on camera.

Sustainability is part of the business

Beyond its new products, HP is also highlighting its sustainability program. According to Cho, the company offers the world’s most sustainable portfolio of PCs based on the number of Gold and Silver EPEAT registrations the firm has made through the Green Electronics Council, and has taken steps to improve the environmental impact of its packaging and backpacks. EPEAT is a program that independently verifies manufacturers’ sustainability claims.

“It's such an important mission for us, and it's a multi-year mission,” Cho said.

The move to a more sustainable business model has taken off in the PC industry, with HP joining the likes of Dell (DELL) and Apple (AAPL) in ensuring that everything from products to boxes are produced using recycled materials.

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Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com over via encrypted mail at danielphowley@protonmail.com, and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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