The great notebook rip-off?
It’s no secret that products often get dumped on the Indian market when they are withdrawn in the West. My sister who recently visited a well-known clothing store in Frankfurt, Germany, was quite shocked at the difference in quality there from the “crap” we get here.
Me, I had a rather sinister revelation. On the lookout for an economical gaming laptop, I was shown a monster of a machine in an HP showroom the other day. Despite being no great fan of the company given the callous way they handled the rape and murder of their Bangalore employee last year, this one had me dazzled for a moment.
A dual core Intel Centrino processor, 15.4 inch screen, 1 Ghz RAM, NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 graphics card, 100 GB of storage—all at an incredible price. Oh, yes, I nearly forgot—a Tata Indicom Internet access data card was thrown in for free. Witness. There is no competitive product for even twice that price!
The showroom manager insisted it gave up to 5 hours of battery power. Despite the drool pooling in my mouth, a little voice inside my head said, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”
I’ve been around computers long enough to be acquainted with a little issue called heating.
A week later, another interesting machine popped up, again from HP. This caught my eye because it had a 64-bit AMD processor, the Turion (I sense blank looks from
Marie and Alpana— Turion is a processor made by AMD, as opposed to the Pentiums made by Intel) and 512 MB RAM. Again, at an incredible price. See for yourself.
These configurations suprised me not just for the price at which they were being offered, but because the concept of a gaming laptop in India is more or less non-existent. Dealers will always try to talk you into buying Intel machines and insist Intel’s integrated graphics are better than additional graphics options for gaming!
Probably it is just coincidence that earlier this year HP had to recall thousands of its batteries due to overheating—some say the figure is up to 135,000. It has been reported that batteries have melted and people have been injured.
A media contact warned us unofficially the other day that HP’s laptops may have heating issues. These may or may not be the same machines—don’t go by the model numbers; those are easy to change especially when machines are reintroduced in a different region. My mistrust of HP stems from the following:
- Given the prices of these machines, one would imagine HP would go to town with it. But that isn’t happening. Price does play a dominant role in the market, especially in the portable computer market.
- The configurations of these machines look great on paper, but don’t quite fit with IT companies’ perception of what the Indian consumer wants. Indeed, few people here look for a laptop when they want a gaming machine.
- Finally, like I said before, we are a dumping ground for substandard products, and this stinks of it. Multinationals might pay us lip-service, but when it comes down to it, India is but a dustbin for whatever they don’t want. And we have not done ourselves any favours by sucking up to anyone who waves a few pennies at us in the name of investment.