Hypertec has upped the ante in its bid for a bigger piece of the desktop PC market with the retail launch of its new HyperSonic line. The manufacturer hopes the combination of high- performance, low-cost (an Intel Pentium 100MHz multimedia PC for $1,999) and the fact that the units are assembled in Australia by an Australian company will lead to increased sales.
The HyperSonic line will be available in Harvey Norman stores starting early this month, with further retail roll out planned for David Jones, Grace Brothers, Vox and a variety of other retailers, Hypertec managing director Geoff O'Reilly said.
Although O'Reilly concedes Hypertec's plans are unlikely to cause concern among major desktop manufacturers, he says the HyperSonic line is well placed to take marketshare from indigenous suppliers such as IPEX, Total Peripherals and Optima. O'Reilly says Hypertec's goal is to sell 2,000 PCs in the retail sector each month. "That's not going to happen this month or the next, but we think we'll be there by Christmas, and certainly by early 1997," he said.
If Hypertec attains this goal it will be in contrast to the somewhat lukewarm response with which its Hyperformance line of PCs - launched in February - has been met. O'Reilly said Hypertec has, to date, sold about 5,000 of its Hyperformance PCs, but maintains his company will meet its original target of selling 30,000 units within the first year of production. In the here and now, though, Hypertec's focus is on the HyperSonic line.
According to Hypertec, HyperSonic PCs will be available in three basic configurations: Pentium 100 MHz (RRP $1,999), 133 MHz (RRP $2,499) and 166 MHz (RRP $2,999). The base configuration consists of a desktop case with an 850Mb hard disk drive, 8Mb of memory, CD-ROM, 1Mb of video RAM, a 14in monitor, Windows 95, keyboard, mouse and 12-watt speakers. All products are also available as Internet-ready solutions and include 30 hours of free Internet access via On Australia.
The homegrown factor
"With the launch of HyperSonic, we've brought a product to the market for the average consumer who can't afford to spend $3,000 to $4,000 on a PC," O'Reilly said. "We are also the first com-pany to offer the retail channel an opportunity to sell an Australian-branded product in this price bracket.
"We see the launch of this line as a great opportunity for Hypertec and for the retail channel," O'Reilly said. "Mass retailers are losing business to clones, and we believe there is a market for the most Australian of PCs at the desktop level."
Braced with questions on what percentage of the Hypertec PC is actually "made in Australia", O'Reilly is pragmatic. "About 50 per cent. I think it's a given that when you're talking about a computer being 'made in Australia' you're conceding that the fundamental components of the computer - the processor, the hard disk and the monitor - have been sourced elsewhere. Those components are not likely to ever be made in Australia because the volume isn't there," he said. "However, [Hypertec PCs have] memory, network cards and motherboards, all of which are designed and made in Australia."
However, O'Reilly says Hypertec isn't counting on customers' patriotism to sell PCs. "We don't pretend that people will buy a PC just because it's Australian," he said. "What we do think is that if all things are equal - if you're competing on price and quality - then people will want to buy Australian because it's a good thing to do."
In support of the HyperSonic line, Hypertec marketing manager Michael McGrath says the manufacturer has rolled out the "best warranty in retail". He says all HyperSonic PCs will come with a three-year on-site warranty for parts and labour provided by Wang. In addition, users will have access to a free technical support hotline. Although he says the company has its hands full with its new line of desktops, McGrath told Australian Reseller News that Hypertec is also looking at entering the notebook and server markets.