According to a recent NPD study found that Macs accounted for over 90% of computers sold in retail channels for over $1000. PC manufacturers really need to learn to segment the market better. This research underscores that there are customers with high willingness-to-pay (WTP) looking for a premium product. Even Microsoft's own "Laptop Hunters" ads make this point. In the video above, "Lauren and Sue" are looking to buy a notebook for under $1700 and they find exactly what they want for under $1000. Which is great for Lauren and Sue, but should also make PC manufacturers wonder if they couldn't have charged more for that same product
The recent "Laptop Hunter" ad by Microsoft featuring "Giampaolo" inadvertently makes a great case for buying a notebook direct. Giampaolo is looking for a notebook with (in the following order) "portability, battery life" and "power." He chooses a HP HDX, which is a cool machine, but it just isn't a great fit given what he was looking for. At 7.3lbs and 16" display, the HP HDX isn't that portable. It does have ample power with a 2.4GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, and fast 500GB HD. But given those specs the included 6-cell battery probably won't last that long on a charge. In the end, he ended up with a notebook that really only met 1 out of his 3 criteria.
Assuming Giampaolo really wanted an HP, had he looked on HPdirect.com, he would have done much better. For instance, the HP dv6t is about 1lbs lighter than the HDX and can be customized with a 12 cell battery and almost the same performance specs as the HDX (just a slightly different 512MB graphics card). That configuration runs about $1,300, still way under his budget of
$1500. Also the EliteBook 6930p (KS085UT) for $1,429 might be the best fit of all. The EliteBook is much more portable at only about 5 lbs and a 14"
screen (with higher resolution than the 16" HDX). It's also sports a
2.4GHz processor, 4GB RAM, a respectable 256MB graphics card, and
7200RPM 160GB HD. Overall, it strikes an excellent balance between portability and performance.
Over the years I've helped a lot of people buy computers, and usually buying direct is the best way to go. But golly, buying direct is not without it's own perils and frustrations. And it's hard to resist the instant gratification of shopping at big box
Netflix and Roku recently announced a little $99 box that connect to your TV and enables Netflix subscriber to stream videos right to their TV. Best of all, Netflix is offering unlimited streaming along with any subscription plan over $8.99 per month. I have to say, I think Netflix and Roku really nailed this one. The price-point is perfect, I think many Netflix subscribers won't think twice about buying one. Also, even if Netflix's streaming inventory is a bit small right now, it's only going to get bigger, plus streaming is FREE. The big surprise for me was that the Netflix Player doesn't offer the core feature that Roku pioneered: streaming your iTunes music to your stereo. I won't be at all surprised if future versions of the Netflix player allow you to browse and play your iTunes library on your TV and audio setup. Which will further pit the Netflix player against the Apple TV. For more on this read on...
Spint lost 1 million customers in the first quarter of 2008, while other major carriers grew. I've been a Sprint customer over 10+ years and several of my friends also have Sprint, and I have to say this doesn't really surprise me. For me the problem with Sprint comes down to one thing: lousy phones. Sprint consistently has the lamest selection of handsets of any cell carrier out there, and I think it's finally catching up with them (thanks, in no small part, to the popularity of the iPhone).
I'm on a perpetual quest for the perfect computer mouse. I find something wrong with almost every mouse I use: wireless mice - too heavy, Microsoft mice - comfy but kinda plain looking, Logitech mice - the high pitched click sound grates on me (I WISH I were kidding), Apple mice - pretty, but not that comfy and hard to clean, gaming mice - expensive and ugly... I could go on. The one brand of mice I always like are Wacom mice. They look great, have all the right features, and they're super comfortable. The problem is they only work on a Wacom drawing tablet. Which is why Wacom should make regular USB (and Bluetooth) mice with high sensitivity tracking. Wacom mice could be really popular with style conscious customers and anyone looking for something a little nice than the standard mouse. In fact just writing this has me thinking if it would be possible to cobble one together with an existing Wacom mouse and a USB mouse.
For Christmas this year, my amazing girlfriend gave me a Nintendo DS Lite. It's my first portable video game in ages and I (we both actually) love it. But the one thing I'm not so wild about are game cartridges. Initially the cartridges were quaint, but now they just seem inefficient and annoying. Nintendo should really offer DS games downloads and a way to load a bunch of games on a single cartridge. Actually something like that already exists, sort of...
Unless you were born in the late 90's don't waste your time with "My Word Coach" for the Nintendo DS. I've been playing the game for about a month now and I keep getting the word "Gopher" over and over again. But this was really the icing on the cake.
I don't know about you, but I don't have occasion to use the word "gopher" in a sentence that often. (Except when I'm talking about how lousy "My Word Coach" is.) And I'm pretty sure I've never struggled to verbally express myself and had the word "gopher" come to the rescue. I also can't think of an instance when some people were talking about a gopher and felt embarrassed that I didn't know what they were talking about or nervous that someone might find out.
In my last entry about the Kindle I discussed how magazines could be the "killer-app" for Amazon's Kindle. The Kindle holds amazing promise for reducing the carbon footprint of publishing, but to do that the Kindle first needs to get really popular. Amazon still has some work ahead of them before the Kindle is a raging success. Read on for some simple ideas for how Amazon can use magazine content to make the Kindle a hit.
Electronic readers hold incredible promise, particularly for the environment: replacing paper books with electronic downloads could reduce paper consumption and waste as well as energy used for manufacturing and transporting materials and finished products. But in order for the promise of electronic readers to be realized, they first have to become hugely popular. So far that hasn't happened yet. But Amazon's Kindle might be able to succeed where others have failed.
The display on my notebook, a 4+ year old Dell 600m, has crapped out. I haven't totally given up on it, but more than likely, I'll end up buying a new computer in the next month or so. But for now, I'm tethered to my desk and using a borrowed 17" CRT, which kinda sucks, because my desk was famous for looking cool. But what sucks even more is finding a new laptop. My
little 600m is a surprisingly tough act to follow: it weighs 5.5 lbs, has a 14.1" SXGA+ (1400 x 1050) display and a video card with dedicated memory.
And it's FOUR YEARS OLD! By comparison the 15.4" MacBook Pro has lower resolution despite the
larger screen, and also weighs about 5.5 lbs. After four years, I want a laptop that isn't just faster, but lighter too. And so far I just can't find one...
Rumours are circulating that Apple will announce an ultra-portable notebook at January's MacWorld. There are also rumors that Apple is working on a (multi-touch) tablet computer. I can't help but think the ultra-portable and the tablet are actually the same product, just like the "true video iPod" and the "Apple cell phone" turned out to be the iPhone. Also, Dell will soon release the Latitude XT tablet with a multi-touch display. I won't be at all surprised if the specs of the Apple's ultra-portable/tablet and the Dell XT are almost identical.
Amazon recently released the Kindle ($399), an electronic reader that can wirelessly download books without a computer. Once you buy a Kindle there are no service contracts or recurring fees and you can shop Amazon's selection of books, magazines, newspapers and blogs right from the Kindle. The Kindle has a 6" electronic ink display that sips power and offers a reading experience very similar to paper. The Kindle is definitely a breakthrough device and it's already being compared to the iPod. But if the Kindle is the iPod of reading, where's the iTunes of reading?
My girlfriend's new Palm Centro smartphone doesn't include one of the basic features we've come to expect on a cell phone: a daily alarm clock. I don't know how Palm missed this; by comparison the iPhone has a great alarm clock. The Centro's "World Clock" application has an alarm, but it will only go off once; you have to manually turn it on before each time you want to use it. To add insult to injury, Palm knew that this would cause confusion, so they included this handy tip:
Like a typical alarm clock, the World Clock application only allows you to set an alarm clock within the next twenty-four hours.
Ok, seriously, what "typical alarm clock" does that? And why should that behavior be replicated in an alarm clock software application? Instead of actually resolving this problem, they tried to just explain it away. Sure you can create a daily recurring event on your calendar, but that can get pretty cumbersome. And while there are alarm clock applications out there, having to use a third-party app for something as basic as an alarm clock almost discredits the product. I thought technology companies had finally figured out that what makes a product
great is how well basic features are executed, and how
functional the device is right out of the box.
My girlfriend recently became the proud owner of an adorable red Palm Centro. Needless to say, I'm pretty jealous. The phone is super cute, amazingly responsive and user friendly. I think it's the best consumer smart phone out there after the iPhone, and it's for Sprint! Read on for a more observations and details...
When I first came across the HP TouchSmart, I thought it was just a cool all-in-one with a touchscreen display. But what makes the TouchSmart really unique is that it uses cameras to detect finger touches, as described in this great NY Times article. The only other touchscreens (I know of) that use cameras are big ticket multi-touch systems like Microsoft's Surface, and Perceptive Pixel's huge
interactive wall, which use cameras mounted behind the screen
to "see" touches. The HP TouchSmart has two cameras on the
outside of the screen in each of the upper corners. This allows the
TouchSmart to use a conventional LCD screen instead of rear projection
and maintain its slim profile. Since finding this out I've started to wonder if the HP TouchSmart may be able to detect multiple finger
touches with some modification.
Great article in Fast Company about HP's first-ever VP of Design, Sam
Lucente. Lucente is consolidating and simplifying all of HPs design
efforts around a consistent design "attitude." He's also working to ensure
HP no longer duplicates it's design (and production) efforts. He's
proposed a single logo that can be used on any product as well as a single
navigation control to replace the dozens (or hundreds) currently in use.
The Gateway One has a hot all-in-one design, but of all it's cool features, I'm
most impressed with the power brick. It includes 4 USB ports, an Ethernet
port, and even audio out, so you don't have to plug all the peripherals you
always use directly into the computer. Somehow Gateway took a normally
offensive hunk of hardware and actually made it useful. Other cool
features: a built-in TV-tuner on the top model, standard DVD burner, remote,
wireless keyboard and mouse standard, and an easily accessible bay for a second
hard drive. Kind-of-lame features: the display is only 19", processor
speeds top out at 2 GHz, the webcam isn't built-in.
Engadget recently posed the question
would you change the Sony Reader?" To me the answer is obvious: cut
the price in half. As I discovered with my Nokia N770, a low price tag
can save a weak product. Of course, price isn't the only problem with
the Sony Reader...
A couple weeks ago I bought a Nokia N770 from Woot for about $130. The
N770 is a pocket size web browser that connects to the web via WIFI. It
has a 4.1" touchscreen that delivers as surprisingly good surfing experience
that really rivals a full PC. It handles lots of web browsing tasks just
fine, including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Talk and so on. But easily
the two best things about the N770 are it's price and the size. The N770
has plenty of shortcomings, it's Flash support is a few versions behind, so it
can't play YouTube or Pandora. Also, the processor is pretty
underpowered, which can cause some performance hiccups, and the virtual
keyboard and handwriting recognition are really lousy. But for price and
the convenience of a web browser I can stash in the glove compartment of my
car and start up in less than a minute, it's problems become
forgivable. Still, for a little more money, I'd much rather have
EEE PC or, of course, an iPhone...
You can still pick up an N770 for about $145 from
Something often attributed to Apple's astonishing growth is the
Halo Effect" which is the idea that lots of people who bought iPods will
buy other Apple product because they like the iPod so much. But there's
another iPod Halo Effect at work that's reaching beyond Apple to the entire
technology industry. The other iPod Halo Effect is that technology
companies are finally realizing that customers want attractive, easy to use
products, that interface seamlessly with their computers and, furthermore,
that all new products need to be expertly marketed. The effects of this
newfound interest in design can already be seen.
Belkin has released a
steady stream of new computer accessories with compelling designs, like the
products designed by
Maaike and their line of
surge protectors. Also, Microsoft's Zune is another great
example. With the Zune Microsoft abandoned their normal strategy of
making the software platform and letting other companies make the
hardware. Instead Microsoft created the Zune device as well as the Zune
software and music store to deliver a much more cohesive user experience
least in theory).
have even stepped up their advertising with some pretty sweet tv spots.
Dell also is ramping up their design capabilities, as evidenced with the new
interview with Vio Luminosu, one of Dell's lead industrial designers, he
we've built up our internal design department we have a stronger
goal and a stronger focus on design within our group
Of course companies trying to match Apple's product design may still find it
difficult without also making some serious changes to how they approach
hardware. One of the reasons Apple is able to execute such attractive
and specific designs is that many of the components inside Apple's devices are
custom manufactured just for Apple. Companies like Dell and HP, for
instance, typically just design their own enclosures for someone someone
else's hardware, which is often the same hardware used by countless other
companies. That can make it difficult to achieve a unique appearance,
feature set or sleek form factor. Of course, the M1330 is good
indication that we may see Dell begin to change all that, and hopefully the
M1330 will work as good as it looks. Also, while Microsoft's XBOX 360
looks great and is a leader in the current generation of game consoles, it's
also suffering from
hardware failure rates. Microsoft made a big splash with
it's bulky hardware is destined to be upstaged by something thinner and more
advanced. While hiring great industrial designers designers, user
interface designers, experience designers, and marketing companies is a great
first step, many tech companies will also need to increase their hardware
capabilities so that the are able to support the vision of the designers and
marketers they hire.
Review recently got a little hands on with the
EEE PC. Much to my surprise, it will sport an impressive 900MHz Intel
processor. The demo unit was running Linux which started up in about 10
second and shutdown in about 5 thanks to the flash based memory. It seems
the price has crept up to about $250 for the 8GM model (which is still damn
impressive), and it should still be available in late August. The Linux
operating system includes basic office applications for editing and creating
documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, as well as Firefox and a PDF
viewer. Also, much to my delight, theres an icon for Google
documents! Wow, this is honestly the first gadget that's come out in a
long time that I'm not only really excited about, but is actually in my price
The iPhone is set for release on June 29th, and it will probably enjoy a huge
amount of press attention. If Microsoft is working on a version of the
Zune player software for Windows Mobile, they should try to release it on the
same day or the day before. If done well, Zune for Windows Mobile would
give anyone with a Windows Mobile smart phone or PDA a great media player
experience. And if available as a free download, it would be a great way
for Microsoft to ingratiate itself with Windows Mobile smart phone users,
especially those who might consider buying a iPhone. By releasing the
download with the iPhone launch, Microsoft could potentially piggyback on the
iPhone's press and enjoy a great deal of coverage. Stories on the iPhone
could easily mention: "Apple iPhone is on sale today for $499. But if
you already have a phone that runs Windows Mobile, Microsoft has a free
download of its Zune music player for you."
Woohoo, I was finally able to install the Zune Software! I've played around with the app just a tad, and so far I like it a lot more than I thought I would. It's clean, snappy and attractive. Read for a short rundown of the installation problems, and some quick ideas of how the installer might be able to avoid this problem in the future.
The $199 Asus EEE 701 laptop may just give the OLPC's XO a run for it's
money. Set to be available in August, the EEE reportedly will run Windows
XP or Linux and has handy features like Wi-Fi and a webcam right above the
screen like a MacBook. I also read that the EEE will have a
built-in SD card reader, but I haven't been able to verify this.
Honestly, the EEE is pretty much the device I've been waiting for: an
inexpensive laptop for web browsing and blogging. Here's the spec list
CPU & Chipset: Intel mobile CPU & chipset
OS: Linux/ Microsoft Windows XP compatible
Communication: 10/100 Mbps Ethernet; 56K modem
WLAN: WiFi 802.11b/g
Graphic: Intel UMA
Memory: 512MB, DDR2-400
Storage: 4/ 8/ 16GB Flash
Webcam: 300K pixel video camera
Audio: Hi-Definition Audio CODEC; Built-in stereo speaker; Built-in microphone
Battery Life: 3hrs (4 cells: 5200mAh, 2S2P)
Dimension & Weight: 8.85 x 6.5 x .82~1.3 in, 2lbs
It's amazing how just by making a laptop lightweight and cheap adds
to usefulness and versatility of a laptop. Read
on to understand what I mean.
Microsoft recently announced a new platform called
Home Server. This will enable a new breed of NAS devices (home
servers, you might call them) to collect and store music, movies, photos in one
place from all the computers on the network. That means families will have
an easier time consolidating photos and music into one source. Windows
Home Server can even enable users to access their content securely over the web
(wow, I didn't realize what a security nightmare this is going to be until I
just wrote it). The devices will also be able to preform automated
backups, something most people should do, but don't. Currently there are
no devices available using Windows Home Server, the image above is a concept
product by Carbon
Design that will never be released (more pics
I'm personally really psyched about these devices, I use Microsoft's SyncToy to
backup my PC and absolutely love it. Also if these devices can consolidate
my and my girlfriends music library into one source I'd be happy dude.
However, this is Microsoft we're talking about, so I'm just a tad skeptical...
In case you haven't figured it out I'm looking forward to all screens becoming
touchscreens. So I was totally shocked when the HP TouchSmart PC totally
snuck under my radar. The HP TouchSmart IQ770 is an all in one computer
with a 19" touchscreen, built-in web cam, memory card reader, and wireless
keyboard and mouse. It even has a built-in TV
tuner, DVR functionality and a remote control. You can also you can
dock an HP Photosmart printer on the TouchSmart for a real all-in-one
experience. The TouchSmart is being marketed as the perfect family
computer for the kitchen or living room. It has a cool customizable home
screen that can deliver weather, traffic, notes, a family scheduler, and photo
organizer, all of which can be driven with the touch of the finger or the
included stylus. The touchscreen interface is really perfect for a family
computer to keep organizational drudgery easy and even fun. Most people
probably just accept using a mouse as part of the experience of using a
computer, but it's easy to imagine how eliminating it could make using a
computer more immediate and direct. After all, with the the TouchSmart it
would be much easier to use the computer while standing up or doing other
things. And the elimination of the mouse, reduces the amount of space
needed for the device. In fact, I'm a little surprised the keyboard
doesn't also have built-in trackpad for the same reason. I'm totally blown
away by the TouchSmart, in many ways it's what the iMac should be by now,
however I do wish it were a tad smaller and could be VESA mounted. Overall,
Bravo HP! You can be my PC anytime :)
I just got back from ICFF, where
I saw some amazing things. But one of the products I found myself thinking
the most about wasn't at ICFF, it was this wall mountable printer at the Cooper
Hewitt Design Triennial designed by
& Floyd. I have to admit, I've totally come to accept the
predictable form and large footprint of most printers, but this concept design has totally changed how I think about
printers. In the days of flat screens, and wireless laptops, there's just
no reason why printers shouldn't follow suit. That said, one of the big
printer manufactures should totally make this thing! I'll buy two!
Also, the way it displays the printouts like a picture in a frame, it could be a
great way to share photos with friends and family if you could remotely print
directly to the printer. My only minor critiques of the product are that
it looks a little tricky to get your prints out of that little slot. Seems
like if the front were a door, or if it didn't have those side edges it would be
much easier to extract the pages. Also, while the concept for the product
is that it prints wirelessly, they didn't really address how it's powered.
Personally, I don't really like the idea of a battery powered printer, but I'm
not wild about having a power cord hanging off the printer when mounted to the
wall either. But if forced to choose I think I'd prefer the latter.
A few weeks ago my laptop started running extremely slowly, and I began bracing
myself for the worst. I ran a virus check, and made sure my
affairs backups were in
order. I thought this was the end for my almost 4 year old laptop, until I
noticed that my computer was unusually quiet. I next noticed that my CPU
was running really hot (I have
handy app that displays my CPU temperature in my system tray). Sure
enough the fan wasn't spinning. A few minutes with a compressed air
canister and I had successfully blown out the dust that was gumming it up.
Disaster averted. And probably just in time too, had I continued to run my
computer without the fan it could have been permanently damaged. While I'm
really relieved the problem was so minor, I'm also a little annoyed that my
computer (or any computer that I know of) doesn't notify the user if things at the hardware level are
running sub-optimally or not at all. Most new computers provide ways to
run tests on almost every part of the system (including the fan), yet to run
them it often involves booting the computer into some archaic looking
"diagnostic" mode. But really the operating system should periodically run
hardware level tests and notify the user if something fails or is
preforming way worse than it should. In fact it doesn't even have to
notify the user, there just needs to be a quick way for the user to check the
results of the test when something seems off.
I was going to write a clever little entry explaining this idea, but I think the
image pretty much does a better job. They should totally label the
connector end of the cable so you A) don't unplug the wrong cable and B) know
what that the cable is for, years after the gadget is long gone. Also, for
devices that use generic cables like AV equipment, or printers the manufacturer
should include adhesive labels with the product name that the user can stick to
cable. Lastly, some one (or some company) could print up adhesive labels
with the names of common devices (iPod, keyboard, mouse, TV, VCR, DVD) that the
user can just stick on the cable or plug. However, while most people would
probably find it useful, they probably wouldn't be willing to pay for the
There's another huge cost to these highly configurable systems: customers have to actually configure them, and then wait for their computer to be built.
Most people I know, don't understand the difference between hard drive capacity and memory capacity. And while people might enjoy selecting all the most expensive options to build that $9,000 system, when it comes to actually configuring a computer with the right balance of power and affordability, most people don't have a clue. To anyone smart enough to realize they don't know the first thing about computer components, a built-to-order PCs is hugely unattractive (which is why lots of people go to the nearest electronics big box store and buy whatever they're talked into). Instead most customers would rather just buy a computer with the specs they need and that day or the next. Before long most consumers will feel that configuring a new computer is something they just shouldn't have to do, and they're right.
It's official! EMI will make their entire catalog available on iTunes
DRM-Free. In press converence last night in London EMI's CEO Eric Nicoli
and Apple's Steve Jobs made the announcement and took questions. Here are
the major details.
The EMI Catalog will be available DRM-Free on iTunes in May
The format is AAC 256kbps (twice the standard quality)
These Premium Tracks will be available for $1.29
Entire albums will be sold DRM-free and
higher quality at no additional cost
The Premium Tracks will be available alongside the standard versions that
include DRM for $0.99
For $0.30 customers will be able to upgrade any existing EMI music they
bought to the higher quality, DRM-free version
That would indicate that there would not be two options when
buying an entire EMI album, customers would always get the premium version when
they buy the album. However, Apple makes no reference to complete albums
press release. Additionally, Steve Jobs said in the press conference:
We are going to address both these issues [DRM and sound quality]
by introducing new version of our songs and albums that will be sold alongside
our existing version. The new versions will be DRM-Free so they are
completely interoperable and they will be encoded in 256 AAC...
So next month we'll see if EMI albums
automatically come in Premium format or if there's an option. Hopefully,
the Premium album will be the same price as the standard album as was stated in
the press release. Additionally, Steve Jobs predicts that half the iTunes
catalog will be available DRM-Free by the end of the year by having more record
labels agree to sell music DRM-Free. Also, EMI's CEO Eric Nicoli said that
Premium Tracks would be available to other retailers including places like
recent financial trouble may signal a shift in how consumers buy
computers. Dell pioneered the built-to-order PC, the idea being that
customer ordered exactly what they wanted and Dell would never be sitting on
unpopular systems. They streamlined the process out the ying-yang and
beat everyone's prices. But now it's becoming harder and harder for Dell
to turn a profit on the PCs they sell. While I'm sure there are tons of
theories as to why this is the case, I'm going to offer up my own: after a
certain point offering too many options causes more harm than good, and Dell
is well beyond that point...
So Dell hasn't had the best year. Yet they did something few companies in their situation would have the guts to do, create a website where users can submit ideas and then vote on their favorites. The website, dubbed Dell Ideastorm, displays the ideas with the most votes on the homepage with other ideas on subsequent pages. Dell then tries to address the top ideas with a written response and, hopefully, action. The effect is something like a hybrid of Halfbakery and Digg. However, unlike Digg, and much to Ideastorm's detriment, top ideas don't seem to refresh on a daily or any regular basis. Consequently the top ideas on the homepage have pretty much been there since the site launched. They really need to address this problem, because the site basically becomes self-defeating if the top ideas don't have the opportunity to cycle. Nonetheless, this is still a great move for Dell, and I wish more companies would try things like this.
The MacBook shown at left has a polycarbonate plastic exterior, while the MacBook Pro (right) is aluminum. Both materials have their pros and cons, aluminum is stronger so it can be thinner than plastic yielding sleeker notebooks with that "I'm expensive" look. Also, aluminum may provide better cooling for the interior components of the computer than plastic. But when it comes to durability, my personal experience tells me there's no clear winner. Under impact or stress polycarbonate can dent, and aluminum can warp or dent. However, based on my observations, aluminum can be damaged more easily than plastic. Read on for why polycarbonate might just be a better material for laptops.
You'd think with hybrid cars and hybrid hard drives, some intrepid company would combine the two dominant printing technologies, laser and inkjet, to make a hybrid printer. The laser would print just black and the inkjet would print color, and the two could even be used on the same page. After all for printing text, the speed and sharpness of a laser printer is best; while for printing color, the price and size of inkjet printers can't be beat. Also, inkjet printers are extremely small and simple, so modifying an existing laser printer into a hybrid inkjet-laser printer shouldn't make it that much larger or more complex than one of those ubiquitous scanner, printer fax machine monsters.
Well it isn't exactly my proposed printer with a built-in USB hub but it's close. Western Digital has a line of external hard drives with a built-in 2 port USB hub, one port on the front and another on the back. The hard drives are available in capacities ranging from 120GB to 320GB, and can connect to Mac or PCs via FireWire or USB 2.0.
At last I can ditch my little USB hub, and free up an outlet on my power strip.
This one is pretty self explanatory, they should really make printers with USB hubs built-in. Computer users the world over would rejoice from the modest reduction of cables, the liberation of an outlet currently used by a powered USB hub, and the elimination of a trivial external computer accessory.