HP does the modular thing with a new desktop

Granted, it’s not a desktop that looks like a piece of IKEA furniture, but at least HP is trying something moderately interesting — or is it “modularly interesting?”

The company’s certainly not the first to attempt a desktop modular PC along these lines. See also: Acer Revo and the Lenovo ThinkPad Stack. The execution looks to be a little better here, however, even if the Elite Slice name leaves quite a bit to be desired.

And then, of course, there’s the question of whether anyone is looking for this manner of modularity in a PC without being fully open to third-party parts makers. At the very least, the Elite Slice is one of the compelling takes on what’s still an extremely niche corner of the PC market.

The company’s “modular masterpiece” is a Jenga tower of computing, with a variety of different pieces that snap on to add functionality to the little hockey puck of a computer. Each level connects via a small port called the HP Slice Connector, like so many computing LEGO.

Some of the modules are straightforward, bringing things like speakers, additional storage and a disk drive to the system. Others are actually pretty compelling, like an inductive charging top and a touch-controlled conference calling plate. The system starts at $699. You can buy a bundle or add modules later.

It’s an interesting concept that would be greatly bolstered by the participation of third parties, more along the lines of what Motorola has been offering with its Moto Z line.