Anyone who’s purchased an HDTV within the last several years, especially anyone who’s purchased one in the USA, will be familiar with Vizio. The company has skyrocketed out of nowhere with its own brand of affordable HDTVs. The company wants to reproduce their meteoric rise, but this time in the PC world. If their new all-in-ones and laptops are any consideration, the competition should be worried.
That gorgeous photo above is a shot of one of Vizio’s new all-in-one desktops. I’ll say right now that it’s the most attractive first entry into the market that I’ve seen any company make, and it bodes well for what Vizio has in store. The slick base with a thin panel on top is reminiscent of recent designs from Samsung, as well as Lenovo’s A series of IdeaCentre desktops.
By situating the brains of the beast into the thin brick at the bottom of the unit, the company is able to keep the rest of the display super-thin, since that’s all it is – a display. Bloomberg reported that Vizio will introduce two separate all-in-ones (a 24-inch, as well as a 27-inch model), as well as three notebooks, at a “price that just doesn’t seem possible,” according to the HDTV manufacturer’s CTO, Matt McRae.
Vizio successfully competed in the living room by driving down market prices, relying on razor-thin margins and selling huge quantities in order to make up the difference, and it’s clearly worked. That same strategy helped the biggest PC makers in the world – namely, HP, Lenovo and Dell – to become technology titans in their own right.
At least one of that trio, however, recently had second thoughts. HP’s CEO Meg Whitman, forced by former CEO Leo Apotheker to publicly deliberate the divestiture of their own Personal Systems Group (this includes all of their consumer PCs), only narrowly came down on the side of keeping it as a tightly woven part of the company. Those aforementioned slim margins appeared to be the primary cause for the deliberation.
If Vizio is successful, HP might be pressed into revisiting the issue. And frankly, it’s hard to think that Vizio won’t be. While HP, Lenovo and Dell all have retail partnerships with brick and mortar stores across the country, those partnerships became Vizio’s bread and butter, at least in the beginning. Wal-Mart played a huge role in the process.
While consumers are growing increasingly comfortable with making major purchases online, a large segment of the market still enjoys the convenience and immediacy of a physical retail shop. If Vizio can drive prices low enough, then even attractive online sales might not matter. The company is also betting on its history as a provider of entertainment devices to give it an edge in the overcrowded market.
Said McRae, “It’s very similar to TV — we want to get in there and disrupt it. We think most PCs have been designed for the small-business users, that others have not done a very good job of making them entertainment devices.”
The new devices are scheduled to arrive by June, for as-yet-undisclosed prices.