Dell Unveils DJ Ditty MP3 Player

Dell this week announced six personal technology products, including a tiny new music player aimed at grabbing market share from Apple’s iPod Shuffle.

Weighing a little more than an ounce, the Dell DJ Ditty music player is the latest addition to Dell’s Digital Jukebox lineup. It holds up to 220 songs and supports FM radio and digital books with a price tag of US$99.

The new Dell DJ Ditty music player features an LCD screen for managing playlists, an integrated FM tuner and supports audio books and portable music subscription services.

Mobility products, including notebooks, handhelds and music players, along with software and peripherals, are a growing portion of Dell’s diversified product line. Together, these product categories represented more than 40 percent of its total net revenue in the previous quarter.

No Fanfare

Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg told TechNewsWorld that Ditty’s introduction, which lacked the fanfare typical of iPod announcements, is a telling sign. Although the Ditty looks to match spec-wise to the iPod Shuffle, Gartenberg doesn’t see a true comparison.

“Apple has done an incredible job of evangelizing the market on features and, of course, on brand and cachet,” Gartenbeg said. “So while people talk about the fact that the Ditty has a screen and the Shuffle doesn’t, Apple has made the lack of a screen a feature and not a liability for consumers.”

To be sure, the market has seen plenty of MP3 players emerge in the past few years. None has achieved the success of the iPod. Analysts said that proves it’s not about features. In fact, more feature-rich MP3 players developed by iPod competitors have not grabbed market share from Apple. So why would Dell attempt to outdo the venerable iPod?

“Dell believes the market is still somewhat nascent. The vast majority of consumers don’t own MP3 players, but the problem is that the iPod has become a different device,” Gartenberg said. “IPod is not a generic term for MP3 players. There’s been no brand dilution of iPod. Consumers are very specific. When they say they want an iPod, they want something from Cupertino with white headphones.”

Attractive Prices

Much attention has been focused on the MP3 player, but Dell also announced newprinters and handhelds the company said underscore its commitment to meeting the needs of diverse lifestyles.

The new Dell Photo All-in-One Printer 924 and Dell Photo All-In-One Printer 944 offer faster printing speeds, enhanced photo capabilities, wireless capacity and a new design for $89 and $149 respectively.

Three new Axim X51 handhelds feature Windows Mobile 5.0 software with persistent storage memory to help protect data, and Media Player 10 Mobile for entertainment on the go. Prices for Axim X51 models start at $299.

“Dell is committed to helping customers get more out of their personal computers for entertainment and productivity by offering complementary products that are easy and fun to use in and outside the home and office,” said Michael Farello, vice president of electronics and accessories for Dell’s consumer business. “With every new generation of Dell personal technology products, we continue to increase value for customers by adding innovative and relevant features at attractive prices.”

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