updated 10:15 pm EDT, Mon March 26, 2012
Razer seen fostering Apple-like culture
Voodoo PC founder and former HP veteran Rahul Sood in a commentary put Razer in a unique position among Windows PC builders. He saw it at a minimum inheriting the title Voodoo had before HP bought it, taking over the high-end gaming PC space. Razer's new Blade notebook also represented a rare instance of a Windows PC developer striving for the level of quality from Apple, paying attention to the experience of the product, not simply chasing specifications.
The Blade, which we tried at CES just before launch, is intended to be relatively thin and light for a 17-inch gaming notebook, being as thin and light as a MacBook Pro but focusing more on performance through its high-end processor, upper mid-range graphics, and solid-state drive. Its signature feature is a multi-touch display that doubles as either a trackpad or a status window; ten programmable mini LCD keys sit on top.
Along with likening the design to Apple's, Sood likened Razer's culture to an early Apple. It focused on building a core, loyal base that loved its products instead of trying to reach the lowest common denominator.
"Razer built their brand on a thriving community, they have evangelists all over the world who live and breathe their products very similar to Apple in their early days," he said. "People overlook this important ingredient too often, the small community Apple once fostered became a movement that helped make them who they are today... I believe Razer has a chance of creating a similar 'Apple-esque' movement in the Windows PC space. Though it will be on a smaller scale, no one should underestimate the power of a thriving ravenous community."
Voodoo was originally sold to HP with the aims of expanding its reach beyond a boutique gaming PC builder. After some early collaborative projects, however, the gaming and overall performance elements were watered down, which is often credited as Sood's reason to quit. He saw HP's effect as a clue as to the danger of giving up control of the experience, warning Razer chief Min Liang-Tan not to make the same mistake.
"Min if you're reading this, don't sell your company to anyone -- ever," Sood said.