HP CTO: About Those 3D Printers ...

Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) CTO is slowing down the 3D printer express train CEO Meg Whitman boarded last week, noting the company isn't planning any 3D product announcements until October.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

March 25, 2014

2 Min Read
HP CTO Martin Fink
HP CTO Martin Fink

Hewlett-Packard‘s (HPQ) CTO is slowing down the 3D printer express train CEO Meg Whitman boarded last week, noting the company isn’t planning any 3D product announcements until October.

At HP’s annual shareholder meeting March 19, Whitman suggested the vendor will enter the 3D printer market in June with a business-centric model faster and of higher quality than what’s on the market now.

Whitman scalded current 3D printer entries, equating the technology’s speed with “watching ice melt,” and complaining about the less-than-stellar quality of the end products. “We believe we have solved both these problems and we’ll be making a big technology announcement in June around how we are going to approach this,” she said.

But it seems Whitman boarded the 3D printer train without first buying a ticket. Martin Fink, HP’s chief technology officer and HP Labs director, in an updated post on the HP Next web page, said the vendor is aiming for a late October 3D printing debut but nothing is on the docket for June.

“During our Annual Meeting of Stockholders on March 19, HP answered a shareholder question about our 3-D printing program and inadvertently stated that we would be making a technology announcement in June, when in fact we are planning to make that announcement by the end of our fiscal year,” Fink said.

HP’s fiscal year closes Oct. 31.

Fink’s comments updated an earlier Q&A in which he called 3D printing “really still an immature technology, but it has a magical aura.” He said the “sci-fi movie idea that you can magically create things on command makes the idea of 3D printing really compelling for people.”

At the time, Fink confirmed HP already has developed a working 3D printing prototype but declined to provide any details.

Other than the whiz-bang aspects of 3D printing technology, Fink laid out HP’s interest in a segment that’s purely a niche play right now—it’s the growth potential. At this point, 3D printing’s appeal mostly is confined to business use—the machines can produce prototypes, design molds and even engage in onesy-twosy production such as smartphone cases, toys and jewelry—but the consumer market hasn’t picked up on it.

Still, researcher Gartner figures the segment has plenty of room to grow, forecasting enterprise and consumer 3D printer shipments by 2017 to rise to some 1.1 million units from the current 38,000 units, and spending to reach $5.7 billion from the current $288 million.

Without going into detail, Whitman told shareholders at the meeting the vendor will “focus on the business side before we get to the consumer side. We think the bigger market will be in the enterprise space.”

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like