Wednesday, December 14, 2016

HP Inc's Sprocket printer - a hot (make that scorching) holiday gift item!

Teddy Ruxpin was one of those highly desirable toys in short supply during the 80's
It started with toys, as I remember. The hot item that was in short supply during peak shopping season, and crazed parents would go to any length to get their kid the product of the year. I recall Cabbage Patch dolls, Furbees, and Teddy Ruxpin - the latter being the one I proudly "scored" for unwrapping under the tree.

Those feeding frenzies were before the widespread adoption of the internet and auction/shopping sites like eBay, which may have even upped the ante. The incursion of tech also played into the equation on the in-demand product side, too. It also became a not-particularly-holiday-driven phenomenon (I'm leaving out those pup-tent dwellers outside Best Buy for days before Black Friday). For a number of years (and mostly missing my demographic) the hot items were mostly things like the latest video game consoles. But I got back into it, at least as a very interested observer, when my Google Glass, purchased from the company as part of the Explorer program for $1500, and seeing those being offered for between $3,000 and $5,000 on eBay during the latter months of 2013. (See my post - note that was on another blog, which I had established as my personal contribution to the Glass hype of that year).

Snapchat Spectacles have a list price of $129
So connecting the dots from those early shopping frenzies leading up to Google Glass, one might conclude that Snapchat Spectacles would be the high-premium item this year. With their sketchy retail availability and "cool" factor, that was definitely true, as least a month ago, though eBay prices (bids and offers) have slipped significantly recently, down to a few hundred dollars.

HP's Sprocket printer is in high demand this holiday season, as this recent eBay buy-it-now listing shows

HP Shopping and other retailers are sold out!
And currently up there with the Spectacles' eBay-to-list-price ratio right now? It's the pocket-sized HP Sprocket Photo Printer, introduced early this year. I had posted about its appearance in the HP Q4 Earnings briefing deck in November as an HP Inc. Printing and Imaging highlight, and on further investigation which I had promised last week, lo and behold, it's a holiday season phenom!

More coming on its speeds and feeds in a future post, when I can get my hands on one!!!

Monday, December 05, 2016

My first "irregular" Observations

From HP Inc's Q4FY16 Results Presentation
Wow! Checking my last post (which announced the end of my regular monthly "Observations"), I was good to my word - nothing at all for the months of October or November.

But with the feeling that it's been too long, here I am with some reflections on HP's printing results for its fourth quarter, which ended October 31st and was reported a few weeks later. Overall, the numbers were not good, with a continuing decrease in quarterly revenues, as compared to prior years. A few glimmers of hope made it into the numbers (commercial hardware units and revenues ticked up a bit for example), but I was particular intrigued by what made it into a bullet point on the slide I have inserted above.

They included a final bullet as follows: "Innovation: Announced A3 platform, 13 laser and 3 ink models. Launched Sprocket, a mobile photo printer, and new Indigo platforms for Graphics", which got my attention and has had me thinking ever since! Perhaps it is the convergence with my own life? I have been spending much of my time lately (while I was not blogging) teaching a class called "Product Design and Development", and if there is a single key word to describe that class, it would be "innovation". Or maybe seeing a mobile photo printer named Sprocket make it to HP Printing's short list has been what's caused my curiosity to linger?

One thing I learned during my career actually involved in development projects is that, consistent with the old adage about "a watched pot never boils", stepping away from the action for awhile does have the effect of making those aforementioned projects seem to move along much faster! So maybe this is going on, but regardless, it seems the HP Sprocket is screaming for some investigation and reporting on my part. So as I so often ended my regular Observations, stay tuned!