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Want innovation? Upgrade your PC, not your phone, says HP

With the flood of iPhone publicity this last month -- this last decade, actually -- you might think personal computers have become ho-hum.

But Ron Coughlin doesn't. The leader of HP's PC division thinks his industry has snatched the initiative for technological improvements back from phones.

"The innovation is happening in PCs," Coughlin said in an interview with CNET. His basis for the opinion? We're increasing PC spending while decreasing phone spending. And he shows off one example of how PCs are changing: HP's Omen X gaming PC, which fits into a backpack harness so you're not tethered to a desk for virtual reality gaming. HP just repurposed it as the Zvr system for businesses that want to use the system for simulations or other immersive situations.

For many, upgrading a PC is a choice of pragmatism, not passion. VR, detachable keyboards and other PC developments may not generate as much excitement as the iPhone X's abilities with augmented reality and portrait photography. But PCs aren't going away.

"PCs have become a replacement market, but, just like in automotive, that can be a pretty nice business," said Endpoint Technologies analyst Roger Kay. "People have realized that you can't do everything on a phone. I think the decline in PCs is mostly over."

Coughlin doesn't have Apple's colossal iPhone-fueled revenue and profits. But he needn't be ashamed. HP reported earnings of $696 million in its most recent quarter, with PC revenue up 12 percent and PC shipments up 7 percent.


More importantly, HP bumped Lenovo aside as the top PC company in the second quarter, according to analyst firm Gartner. HP's 21 percent share of the market narrowly edged Lenovo by one percentage point.

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