Why is Apple Computer so successful? It isn’t simply because they have the best technology – they actually have comparable technology to every other computer or electronic company. It isn’t because of a great distribution system or a cost advantage over their competitors. Apple Computer is so successful due to their design.
They have great designers and great products which creates a dedicated – sometimes fanatic – customer based.
If you are interested in starting your own computer company, creating standard “beige boxes” is a losing proposition. With low cost providers such as HP and Dell, starting a standard computer manufacturer (or even reseller) business is not a business that will earn you a great deal of income. But starting a designer computer company – creating designer computers – is a business proposition that might have some teeth.
A designer computers business takes the components (the guts) of a standard computer, and puts them together into something creative, unique, or awe inspiring. Consumers want more than a gray or black computer. They want a centerpiece for their digital world, a computer they would be proud to show off in their living room. Something colorful, or something unique.
How to Start a Designer Computer Company
A designer computer company takes great design! If you are a talented electronic product designer, you are halfway to achieving your goal of creating a designer computer company. If you are not a designer by trade, you may have what it takes to become a talented product designer, or you might need to outsource this function to a product design firm. The better and more talented the firm, the higher the cost.
Designing products is an expensive proposition and you should be prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars before your first product will be designed. What you are looking for in a good design is something unique which could be a centerpiece of an electronic collection. You could also start this company by looking into a niche which many say is underserved – the home theatre PC.
Start in a Niche
One of the ways you could start in the Designer Computer Manufacturing business is by picking a niche. A Home Theatre PC (HTPC) is a computer which is a centerpiece in someone’s home theatre system. A HTPC is often used as a tuner, digital video recorder (DVR), movie server, music server, Internet browser, and more. A HTPC is similar to a normal PC, except it is built to fit into a home theatre setup and is designed to be quiet and produce less heat than a normal PC.
There are many case manufacturers out there who sell HTPC cases which meet these specifications. A HTPC computer manufacturer is a PC assembler, taking off-the-shelf components – such as motherboards, processors, memory, hard drives, tuner cards, and cases – and assembling them into a finished Home Theatre PC.
You could sell these home theatre PCs directly to consumers, or resell them through home theatre integrators and computer stores. Fortunately, software to run the home theatre options is widely available, including being built into some versions of Microsoft Windows Vista, so you do not need to design home grown software to perform many of the TV tuner and DVR functions consumers are looking for. Additionally, there are many hardware options for tuners and video cards which will work great in a home theatre PC. This allows you to worry more about the marketing and sales functions of the business versus the computer technology integration side.
One of the other things you could design your home theatre PC to do is to be a “home server.” A home server is a device which allows people to store their photos and documents in a central computer. Additionally, it could serve other functions such as a calendaring server (who doesn’t want an easy way to keep up with what their teenagers are doing) or a web server to share photos with family and friends.
Gamers of the World
One of the other niches you could start in is “high end gaming PCs.” Video game players are desirable customers for PC companies as they often buy high end PCs which cost a lot of money. You can start a company focused on providing high end PCs for this customer segment and take advantage of their desire for cutting edge technology.
This is a competitive market segment, but if you focus on using the best technology and providing excellent customer service, it is a segment which you can break into. Designing computers for this market segment will be expensive as the components are often cutting edge and expensive.
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