On MSI’s 2024 laptops, Claw handheld and the future of AI: In conversation with Green Lin, Regional Marketing Manager

MSI has been part of the first wave of AI-based personal computers alongside Dell, Acer, and HP. From the Titan and Raider to the Claw, we received a host of laptops and a handheld powered by the latest Intel Core Ultra processors in India earlier this year to get the ball rolling. MSI was also present at Computex earlier this month to showcase its newest Claw 8 AI Plus handheld alongside new Stealth and Prestige laptops. After a busy first half, I sat down with Green Lin, MSI’s Regional Marketing Manager for MEA and Pan India, to talk about MSI’s 2024 portfolio, the 20th anniversary of the company, and more.

Q. Before we begin, let’s talk about 20 years for MSI! A major milestone for the company. What are your biggest takeaways over the past 20 years?

So we’re proud to have this journey for 20 years. It’s not easy to do this without the support from our users, partners and vendors. We made it happen together and we are looking forward for the next 20 years to see what we can achieve.

Q. MSI launched its 14th-generation laptops like the Titan 18 HX and Raider in India a few months back. Can you elaborate on how you plan to distinguish these laptops from competitors who also have a strong presence in India?

Firstly, it’s the brand value. Over the past 15 years, we have been focusing on gaming and high-end laptops.

So over these 15 years, we have built quite a loyal fan base who values our brand and we’re also catering for people like premium users. 2024 is also the fourth year that we won the best laptop brand for people who voted for the best laptop brand on PCMag, so we are the fourth year winning this award.

So brand value is one thing, and another thing, of course, is the product.

We are known for delivering very powerful performance-driven laptops, so we just try to make the best of it. That means we try to use the best materials that include the memories, SSDs, and also the best cooling design that can run the full potential for both CPU and GPUs.

Also, for high-end series upgradability is very important. With MSI laptops, you have a higher capability to upgrade your system because you don’t want to use it only for one or two years, you want to use it for as long as possible. We try to make our laptops with the best materials, such as magnesium aluminium chassis in some of our high-end laptops to make them thin and light. In a laptop like the Titan, we reached 270W CPU and GPU power to cater to those who require heavy simulation.

Q. The handheld gaming space is becoming quite competitive, and the new MSI Claw will be competing against some very capable devices. How is MSI planning to market this device? 

MSI has always focused on gaming laptops so yes, the handheld space is a new field for us. With the MSI Claw (review), we wanted to reach an audience that is used to console games and who wants to game on the go. I personally have a lot of games in my library, but I couldn’t play them on the go. I would buy the same game on the Switch console so that I could play it on the go. But that wasn’t good because I would have to pay double and the quality of these games on the Switch wasn’t great.

One part of our audience is the existing PC gamer who wants the freedom to play on the move.

Another group of people we want to cater to is the latecomers. We want them to know that they have a better choice with the MSI Claw. So we spent a lot of time making a comfortable device. We spoke to people in the media who told us that when they don’t feel fatigued even after holding the Claw for a very long time. Of course, the cooling design is our strength. You’ll find the fan very quiet while ensuring the performance doesn’t get hampered. This is also why we worked with Intel. The MSI Claw is the first handheld to feature the Intel Core Ultra processor.

Q. The MSI Claw is currently the only gaming handheld to feature an Intel Core Ultra processor. Why did MSI choose the processor, and what benefits does that have to offer?

This was kind of a collaboration we had with Intel. We have a good relationship and experience working with Intel. In addition to targeting the early adopter or retro gamer, we’re also targeting the middle-tasker as well. The Claw is a portable device that shares the same Ultra Core processor that you find in laptops so it can be easily connected to a dock on the go. It can double up as a laptop when required, making it versatile. It also offers 1.5x better battery capacity than its rivals and it gets a good cooling system, so you’re able to use it for 7-8 hours at a stretch so you can travel around to play or work on it.

Q. MSI recently announced the Claw 8 AI+ at Computex 2024 which will be powered by Lunar Lake CPUs. Do you think that this announcement might cannibalize sales of the current-gen Claw as people might want to wait for the next-gen version?

Some people prefer 15-inch and some prefer 17-inch, so they both have pros and cons. It really depends on people. We know some people wish to wait for the latest Claw. For the existing Claw, we’re offering promotions and bundle plans to offer more value. At the end of the day, people have the choice to grab the current Claw now and enjoy the benefits of our offers and a better price or they can wait for a few months for the newer model.

Q. The Prestige is a great option for professionals who want a device that can be used in the boardroom and the game room. Can you talk a bit more about the activities that you’re going to do to attract such professionals?

Prestige is one of the most exciting products that we love be it for gaming or work. It is thin and light. It has performance and all the connectivity there. It is also very beautiful. A lot of people need such a device for their work as well as to carry it around and show it off. The Prestige 16 is actually a dream device for most of our colleagues when they go for business or just for daily usage. We have been doing a lot of events in India. Annually, we can do up to 100 offline events like workshops and activities for creators, students and professionals to show what a laptop like the Prestige can do. That’s typically how we look to attract people.

The Prestige 16 is actually a dream device for most of our colleagues when they go for business or just for daily usage. 

Q. How does MSI see the role of AI evolving in personal computing over the next five years, and how is the company preparing for those changes?

AI is growing very fast lately and the market size is around 15 million for desktops and laptops. Big companies are doing AI over the cloud. I see AI as a combination of hardware and software in the future. You need to do things on the device and not just rely on cloud servers. AI is not just about using ChatGPT but can be used practically anywhere in your daily life like video conferencing where the camera can track you and your face while talking. We want to make AI more user-friendly, that’s why we want to build our own software like MSI AI engine that detects your user behaviour and learns from you in a way that it can switch based on different scenarios such as bumping up the performance when gaming or enabling AI noise cancellation during video calls. MSI AI Artist, for example, can generate images based on short prompts or add texts within images. It will be faster and safer on-device than doing things over the cloud.

AI is not just about using ChatGPT but can be used practically anywhere in your daily life like video conferencing where the camera can track you and your face while talking. 

Q. According to our laptop survey, MSI’s overall market share has been fairly small, but has grown consistently and has a fairly loyal following. How are you planning to grab market share from the competition?

We started with our premium laptops i.e. our high-end gaming laptops for premium users. Next is to expand our reach. We’re carrying more laptops for everyday use cases that don’t demand high performance but are reliable. So we’re looking to bring more affordable products to expand our reach. For everything else, we want to bring more sales points and improve our service as well as engage more with our users. We also want to increase our presence offline. We opened 10 new MSI Brand stores in India in the last six months and we’re looking to open another 20 stores in the next six months. We also partnered with Reliance and Croma to expand our offline reach.

Q. That’s all for serious questions! Let’s end this on a fun note. What are some of your favourite games?

I’m not a shooter type, I’m too slow and not good at it. I enjoy role-playing games. Lately I’ve been playing Baldur’s Gate 3. When I play, I ask my son to go away because I don’t want him to see me play it! Me and my son also like playing games together. One of the games we play is It Takes Two, which is excellent and really enjoy the moments we spend together. 

No posts to display