Innovation distinguishes you - Freshly Squeezed from Silicon Valley
Voodoo Envy 133 laptop is a better versio of the the Macbook Air and the Lenovo X300, with its thin casing and better looks.I haven't pre-ordered yet, but looking at the laptop you must admit that it looks hot.
Rahul Sood is the co-founder of Voodoo PC, which was acquired by HP in 2006. Since the acquisition he has become the Chief Technology Officer of HP’s fledgling Voodoo Business Unit. He is in charge of defining future product roadmaps for both Voodoo PC and HP’s Voodoo DNA brand, which produced the Blackbird 002 last year. He described his job to us as someone who “looks forward in the future to see what comes next,” which is an apt description indeed. The always talkative Sood gabbed with us about a number of current issues facing the technology and gaming industry, including the pressing issue of why he cut a cake with an Apple MacBook Air recently.Q: What is the difference between HP with Voodoo DNA and Voodoo the company?A: We’ve always walked the line between luxury, sophisticated PCs and gaming PCs, and we’ve never really been clear about what we are. Are we gaming? Are we luxury? What are we? Essentially what we’re doing now is taking the Voodoo side…it’s more like art and technology fusing together…Beautiful devices wrapped in beautiful exteriors, and they have extreme levels of personalization.The common denominator between Voodoo and Voodoo DNA is still performance. Both product portfolios will have great performance, but the style and delivery will be different.Q: Will your company be releasing products that are more affordable in the future?A: We do know that now when we see the two brands—you see the voodoo and the HP with Voodoo DNA—you have to use your imagination and realize we understand that we’ve got two flagship desktops here [the Voodoo Omen and the Blackbird], we’ve got to go downstream. And I think you’ll see with the Voodoo DNA portfolio later this year, we plan to create even more desirable systems for all types of people to afford.Q: Does that include plans for a Blackbird laptop?A: We’re expanding our portfolio. I can’t specifically say with what, but when you expand a portfolio, you build everything, right? We’re absolutely looking at laptops and all sorts of things in that space.Q: What do you think of the current mini-notebook trend with the Asus Eee PC and now HP’s Mini-Note?A: I think that’s a big trend for the K-12 space and for certain emerging demographics. I really like that Mini-Note. I used one over the week I was at D6 [also known as the All Things Digital conference], and it’s actually a pretty good product. It’s been an interesting thing to see Intel jump into that space [with its new Atom processor] as quickly as it did. I think that Via tends to be a very innovative company; they tend to do things at the beat of their own drum. And when you see Intel catch up, they’ll probably have a very competitive product to Via’s.Q: How has Voodoo influenced HP’s operations thus far into your relationship?A: The goal is anything we create, any innovation that we bring the market, the rest of HP will look at and see how we can commercialize it eventually in the mainstream. And that is exactly what we’re doing. We came up with the liquid cooling for Blackbird, a fully sealed OEM solution, and we worked very closely with Asetek on that. We hope to see some of the other parts of HP use that technology in other areas, and we think that could happen. By creating this notebook [Envy 133], which is the thinnest notebook we ever created, other areas of HP will look at it, too, and see what they can do with it.Q: What do you make of all the recent chatter over the impending death of PC gaming?A: First of all, I don’t believe for one bit that PC gaming is in trouble. The distribution of retail PCc games might be in trouble. The genres are changing, and the distribution model of the games is changing. Any time you get new consoles and new content coming to consoles, people always talk about the death of PC gaming and they do that prematurely. I think that it’s just changing; it’s not dying, it’s just changing.The other thing about PC gaming that’s changing is the need to create platforms that are stable and that just work. Part of the challenge we’ve seen is that in the past you’d see nVidia and ATI launch new GPUs and new initiatives where you get multiple GPUs in a system, and that sort of thing. Lately it’s been to the point where they’ve been launching this stuff without really factoring in the overall stability of the machine. And you’re seeing companies sort of push back. They may launch a technology they’re launching to the point where it’s not running as stable as we want it to be. It’s not running up to our standards. We think that’s starting to change now that Service Pack 1 is out and new drivers are coming out. That was a big blow to PC gaming, the lack of stability, especially after Vista, and now we’re starting to see that change.Q: nVidia recently stated we might see the day where the GPU is more important than the CPU. Do you agree?A: I think that there’s a balance of CPU and GPU necessity in a PC. AMD is doing some interesting things on both sides of the equation. I think when you look at nVidia they’re also pushing their company to improve the computing on programs from Adobe using GPU computing. I think GPU computing has its place in the market. I think it’s a niche market. It’s very software-dependent. I definitely see that happening.Q: What do you think about the escalating war between nVidia and Intel?A: It makes our job interesting and difficult at the same time, that’s about all I can really comment there. They’re definitely competing harder than they ever used to against each other. "I think that nVidia is a very strategic company. It’s run by a brilliant CEO who understands all of the things going on around him, and he’s probably going to make the right decisions for the company. But when you’re head-to-head against a giant, it’s hard to compete.Q: You said in an interview that HP’s development process tried your patience. Can you elaborate?A: When you come into a company where you’re building PCs that are created from sheet metal to completion in 90 days, and then you walk into an organization where it takes you a year or so to do the same sort of thing, it’s like a learning process that you have to appreciate as to why that is. Everything is taken into consideration, everything from the last detail of the packaging to drop testing to certifications and all sorts of things. If you put your hand inside, will you get electrocuted? It’s tons and tons of stuff—will the battery start on fire? Tons of stuff that HP puts on us to ensure that it’s completely stable.What I was saying by that statement is, for example, on the Envy notebook we could have launched the thing a year ago, but there was a reason why we couldn’t do it and it failed the one-handed hold test if you can believe that. The one-handed hold test is when you hold the notebook from a corner and you open up the screen and if whatever reason it feels flimsy—and they are ways to tell if it feels flimsy—you have to start again and figure it out. We had to go back and restructure the inside of the system so that we could put a removable battery in there, and so that it felt stiff and rigid and it was rugged. We had to go back and reengineer the thing so we could pass that one stupid test, and it was worth it. Before the thing was very flimsy and now it feels solid and worth the money. It's an amazing process, and it's worth going through. It can be frustrating at times, but it's something that's absolutely worth going through when you see the end product.Q: Will we see Voodoo PCs at retail any time soon? A: I don't think you'll see Voodoo in your typical retail space.Q: You were recently shown cutting a birthday cake with a MacBook Air on your blog. What’s the story behind that?A: People probably won’t believe this, but if you know me, you would know that that was completely unplanned, and it was no disrespect to Apple. My friends always rip me about the PC-versus-Mac debate, all the time, and many of my friends are Mac fans. The person who was hosting the party, it’s his laptop, and he said, “Here’s your gift.”' Ha ha ha, they were laughing, so I said, “Okay, thanks,” and cut the cake.Interview conducted by Josh Norem.Filed under: Industry NewsPosted by Sean Portnoy on June 10, 2008, 4:00 AMhttp://computershopper.com/shoptalk/2008/06/10/exclusive_interview_with_voodoo_pcs_rahul_sood
nice post. it's usually cheaper to buy a voodoo than buying the parts individually from frys. i love my voodoo
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