NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There's an old vaudeville saw: For every two minutes of glamour, there's eight hours of pain and frustration. As Meg Whitman and Hewlett-Packard (H-PQ) try to add some Apple-like glamour to their song and dance, they'll probably tell you that ratio is about right.
Pretend for a sec you're Whitman, the top star at computer giant H-P. Since PCs and software are stuck in the dumps between commodity and free service, the future is clear: Do what Apple (AAPL) does -- develop some star power with a stylish, integrated software and hardware experience that consumers throng to.
|The HP TouchSmart 9300 PC packs serious business punch -- including an Intel Core i7 processor and full terabyte of storage -- as well as touch-based controls.|
Not surprisingly, H-P investors also want a piece of the Apple limelight. Whitman was peppered by such demands from shareholders this year at the company's annual conference. Even though H-P spends a billion dollars more per year than Apple on research and development, Macs succeed and H-P products don't. What up with that?
"Steve Jobs is the business genius of our generation," Whitman told a cranky shareholder, according to Business Insider's Julie Bort, who covered the event.4 Stocks That Are Real Sleepers in 2012 >> Now, there is no doubt Whitman and H-P are trying hard at Apple box office draw. Take the HP TouchSmart 9300 PC (base price: $1,499). I've been giving one a demo for about a month, as well as talking with several H-P product managers about how this PC fits into the larger strategy. "It's all about redefining what a computer really is," says Joe Marenin, product manager for the TouchSmart. My takeaway? Grabbing some Apple glamour really is going to take some serious blood, sweat and tears. Here's why: The 9300 is a decent business computer, but it's not yet an Apple "experience." Called a business-class, touch-enabled all-in-one PC, the 9300 will be recognized by Apple users immediately. It's the iPad meets the iMac -- a giant touch-controlled screen, a keyboard and all the the bits of a computer all hidden inside a single box that sits on the desk. 9 Stocks That Prove Dividends Make All the Difference >> By no means is the 9300 shabby. The unit features a marvelous 23-inch diagonal display, which looks great and pivots easily, so it's always effortless to view. The techno guts are stuffed into a well-designed enclosure that is, at most, about 4 inches thick. And the thing packs serious business punch: an Intel Core i7 processor, a full terabyte of storage -- that's more power and space than you will ever need. Plus seven (count 'em!) USB 2.0 ports, a DVD drive and a fantastic keyboard, among many nice features. But the actual business user experience? That is most definitely does not pack star power.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV