Dell Drums Up More Gaming, Media PCs

Dell looked beyond its usual volume business to speed and style this week, rolling out three new XPS entertainment and gaming PCs, including a hybrid desktop-notebook with 20-inch screen that can stay in the office or hook together to go.

That computer, the XPS M2010, was rounded out by the XPS 700 gaming desktop and XPS M1210 ultra portable notebook as Dell looked to heighten its efforts at the high end.

“It does mean Dell is trying to differentiate itself from other products,” Current Analysis Senior Analyst Toni DuBoise told TechNewsWorld. “This is the most innovation we’ve seen from Dell.”

Entertainment Engines

Dell, which recently bought high-end gaming manufacturer Alienware, said its new computers address emerging customer preferences that increasingly center on digital photos, video, games and other media.

“The PC continues to be the engine that drives the personal entertainment experience as more consumers see the value of expanding its use for gaming, photos, music and videos,” said Dell Senior Vice President Alex Gruzen.

The new computers, all immediately available, are highlighted by the XPS M2010, a fold-up desktop that can be carried from the desk. That machine, showed off earlier at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, will be priced starting at US$3,500.

The XPS 700 gaming desktop, featuring jet-engine inspired aluminum chassis, customizable lighting for gaming in the dark and optional racy red, will start at $2,310. Dell will also offer an XPS 700 kit with chassis, motherboard, memory and processor for customization starting at $1,120.

The third PC, the XPS M1210, is described as an “ultramobile” notebook that weighs in at 4.37 pounds, and is priced at $949.

Dell also aimed to make the new XPS PCs more versatile by adding Skype Internet telephony software to the M2010 and M1210, allowing users to take advantage of the pre-loaded voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) solution.

Halo Hopes

Known more for its mainstream consumer products and volume business value, Dell is breaking away from its previous strategies with the new XPS machines, according to DuBoise.

The new Dell PCs are unlikely to counter the company’s flat PC sales given the niche market for high-end systems. However, Dell is likely trying to provide a “positive halo effect” for its entire family of products — something the company had previously lacked, DuBoise added.

“It’s a halo move,” she said.

Dell It Yourself

The new XPS lineup may be priced too high for many, but the company is providing some incentives to the high-end enthusiasts, such a componentized and customizable options.

“For the first time ever, they are appealing to do-it-yourself gamers,” said Duboise. “They’re finally embracing a market by giving gamers the ability to do what they want.”

She praised the Dell offering, crediting customization for Alienware’s success, and indicating that those high-end market buyers are indeed capable of building their own systems.

Market Game

Such innovative and high-performance products from Dell indicate the company’s desire to broaden its market, and gaming and media PCs are a natural extension of Dell’s traditional consumer following, Gartner Vice President Martin Reynolds told TechNewsWorld.

“It’s all about expanding the market share,” he said.

The analyst indicated Dell is looking to expand both globally and among gamers, who are willing to pay the higher prices for better performance and flashier designs.

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