Personal Computers

Dell Bridges Living Room and Office With XPS One

Dell unveiled a new consumer electronics system Monday that combines multimedia computing with high-definition television and entertainment.

The Dell XPS One features a 20-inch, widescreen, edge-to-edge tempered glass display, side-mount speakers and a webcam with dual-array microphone. It is built on an Intel Core2 Duo E4500 with Windows Vista Home Premium and includes 2 GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM (double data rate 2 synchronous dynamic random access memory) at 667 MHz.

The XPS One initially will be offered in Japan and the United States and will also be available on the company’s Web site. Customers in Japan will also be able to preorder the machine in select Bic Camera stores, with systems expected to arrive in early December. Pricing begins at US$1,499.

“Our designers synthesized input from customers worldwide to design a full, rich world of digital multimedia, combined with an elegant iconic design,” said Alex Gruzen, Dell’s senior vice president of the consumer products group.The unit can serve as an HDTV centerpiece, music system or PC, Gruzen added.

Motion Sensing Technology

The system comes with a single cord for power, while any other connections are handled wirelessly right out of the box, including the wireless mouse and keyboard. All systems include built-in WiFi for network connectivity and internal Bluetooth 2.0 connecting peripherals like headphones and printers.

Motion-sensing technology in the multimedia keys makes the display, the media keys, and slot-load drive come alive with a soft blue glow when the user’s hands approach them.

U.S. systems include a built-in TV tuner and can be configured with an optional Blu-ray disc drive, enabling users to watch and record favorite television shows and movies while performing other functions.

An 8-in-1 media-card reader and multiple ports on the sides of the display offer easy access, while additional ports on the back take advantage of the specially designed cable management routing guide.

U.S. customers’ systems will come equipped with Adobe Elements Studio software preinstalled, including Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and Premiere Elements 4 software as well as Adobe Soundbooth CS3 to promote multimedia creativity.

Matching TV

“As PC manufacturers try to find niches and differentiate their products, PCs increasingly are matching TV’s capabilities,” Harry Wang, a research analyst with Parks Associates, told TechNewsWorld. “With Dell’s share of PC sales lagging behind HP and others, they are trying to see if by bringing this new concept to market they can establish a market-leading position for innovation.”

Dell has not been able to penetrate the consumer electronics market in the past, Wang added, “but there is definitely a niche in the PC consumer segment that wants to have an experience matching the TV side,” he said.

In the future, there will be more and more services delivering video content via streaming and downloads, Wang added.

Lean Forward or Lean Back

By focusing on entertainment capabilities, Dell is targeting a very different segment than the traditional computation platform does, Ian Lao, a senior analyst with In-Stat, told TechNewsWorld.

Because it spans entertainment and computation functions, consumers will have new flexibility in deciding where it belongs, he added.

“The consumer really has the ultimate choice of where to put it — it can be in the living room environment, or they could choose to treat it as a high-end, souped-up platform that just happens to sit on their desk or in their office,” explained Lao.

Inherent in that decision is a different kind of usage model, Lao added. U.S. consumers typically associate the living room with passive, or “lean back,” activities such as listening to music or watching movies, while the office is for more active, or “lean forward,” applications, he noted.

Now, a user could take a break while in the office to watch some video content, or work on photo editing in the living room on the XPS One’s high-definition large screen, he said.

“With this category as a whole, Dell is crossing the two environments by giving consumers the option to lean back while in office or lean forward in the living room,” he explained. “This inverts that traditional usage model.”

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