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Dell's New Inspirons -- Colorful Media

Dell announced its new consumer systems (and associated marketing campaign) today in a press event at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City. Dell has installed a Dell Lounge at Macy's to demonstrate these products for the next two weeks, as part of its ongoing but still-to-be-fully-disclosed push into augmenting its online business by adding sales through retail stores.

Dell also premiered its new consumer marketing campaign, with the slogan "Yours is Here" (www.dell.com/yoursishere), which "promises customers that Dell can deliver personalized devices that enable a great digital experience, virtually anywhere in the world."

Key themes in the announcement were personalization through color -- Dell notebooks now come in pink! -- and additional emphasis on addressing its customer support issues.


This is also the end of the line for the Dell Dimension brand: the Inspiron brand will now be used for the broad consumer line of desktops and notebooks, much as the XPS brand is already being used for both higher-end consumer desktops and notebooks.

I'll review some highlights and trends here, especially the digital media features which are being deployed more widely across the product line, and refer you to the Dell site for more information.



Products and Colors

The products announced today are:
- Inspiron 530, 530s and 531, 531s desktops
- Inspiron 1720, 1721 (17-inch), Inspiron 1520 and 1521 (15.4-inch), Inspiron 1420 (14.1 inch) notebooks
- XPS M1330 (13.3-inch) notebook
- Dell SE198WFP 19-inch and Dell 2407WFP-HC 24-inch widescreen flat panel displays

The XPS M1330 is Dell's new flagship ultraportable notebook, "the world’s thinnest 13.3-inch notebook." With an optional LED-backlit display, it's down to less than 1 inch thin, with a starting weight of around 4 pounds -- light but still noticeable in your bag.

The M1330 is available in a choice of three colors: Tuxedo Black, Pearl White, or Crimson Red.

The Inspiron notebooks offer a choice of 8 colors: Jet Black matte finish, Alpine White gloss finish, Espresso Brown, Flamingo Pink, Midnight Blue, Ruby Red, Spring Green, and Sunshine Yellow with soft touch finish.

Wireless Mobile

The Inspiron notebooks and the XPS M1330 not only include 802.11 Wi-F networking, but also support the option of integrated mobile broadband from your choice of cellular carriers: Sprint or Verizon Wireless (EVDO-Rev A), or AT&T (HSDPA). You configure your system with the appropriate wireless interface, and then sign up for the carrier's data plan, and you can be online anywhere that is in range of a cell tower.

Media

Dell continues to emphasize digital media in its consumer lines:

- To play media without waiting for Windows to boot (and to reduce battery drain), the Inspiron notebooks and the XPS M1330 support instant access to media playback and even calendar and contacts. The Dell MediaDirect technology provides immediate access to videos, music or photos through dedicated playback control buttons, and Instant Office technology can access your calendar and contacts.

- For shooting your own video, the M1330 includes an integrated webcam with dual digital microphones and noise-isolation earbuds, while the Inspiron notebooks offer an optional integrated 2.0 megapixel webcam.

- The Inspiron desktops offer optional TV-Tuner cards, high-quality graphics, and X-Fi sound cards

- The XPS M1330 has an HDMI port for displaying high-quality video on an external digital display, but the Inspiron notebooks do not.

- The Inspiron notebooks offer an optional Blu-ray Disc drive to play back HD movies, but the M1330 does not (at least until a tiny slot drive is available).

Service and Support

Dell has suffered well-publicized criticism for its customer support in recent years, although it reports that recent surveys show great improvement.

In response to complaints about "bloatware" -- particularly trial software cluttering new machines, Dell is expanding its configuration options so you can decline having such software installed on your machine as it is being built. And Dell is adding a desktop tool to remove all such software after you receive a new system.

Dell's enhanced service and support options include:

- A Dell Lounge site will consolidate all of Dell’s entertainment partnerships, events and forums, with entertainment content, games and contests. www.delllounge.com

- Dell Online Backup service that provides 12 months of complimentary online storage space for every Inspiron (up to 3GB) and XPS product (up to 10GB). Dell desktops also can be configured with DataSafe internal backup, using dual hard drives with back-up and restore software.

- Dell PC TuneUp can automatically fix many issues or report issues to maintain peak system performance. www.dell.com/pctuneup

- Dell Support Center is pre-installed on all new consumer systems. It provides one-click access to personalized service, support and system resources, helping customers quickly locate system information, self-help tools, FAQs and assistance from Dell. A Dell-developed application monitors and pinpoints systems issues. Dell technicians can access customer systems directly to explain and resolve problems. www.dell.com/dellsupport

XPS M1330 Ultraportable Notebook

XPS M1330


Features include:
- Priced from $1,299
- Intel Core 2 Duo processors
- 13.1-inch widescreen high definition display with TrueLife technology for crisp and vivid images (WXGA 1280x800), with optional upgrade to bright LED backlit (WLED) display (300 nits)
- High performance NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS graphics with 128MB dedicated memory or battery-saving Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 3100
- Standard 802.11g Wi-Fi networking, or optional 802.11a/g or Wireless-N
- Full-sized keyboard, touch sensitive media buttons
- Standard slot-load DVD+/- RW with dual layer capability
- Standard integrated 8-in-1 media card reader to enable easy transfer of content from digital devices. Other ports include HDMI, two USB ports, IEEE 1394a, dual headphone jacks
- Standard integrated webcam with dual digital microphones and noise-isolation earbuds
- Standard consumer IR remote that stores in system ExpressCard slot
- Optional 6-cell and 9-cell lithium-ion battery
- Optional fingerprint reader for security and convenience
- Choice of Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate
- Standard one year of LoJack for Laptops Theft Protection Service
- Base one-year XPS limited warranty includes rapid response from XPS-trained technicians

Inspiron Notebooks

Inspiron 1720


Dell offers a choice of Intel or AMD processors for the Inspiron notebooks: the Inspiron 1420, 1520 and 1720 notebooks feature Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and the Inspiron 1521 and 1721 feature AMD Turion 64 X2 dual core processors.

Other Inspiron notebook features:

- Choice of high definition displays, resolution and finishes, TrueLife or non-glare
- Choice of hard drive sizes up to 250GB; RAID 0,1 support (Inspiron 1721 only)
- Optional integrated 2.0 megapixel webcam with dual digital microphone and noise-cancellation earbuds
- Optional Blu-ray Disc drive (Inspiron 1420, 1520, 1720 only)
- Optional 9-cell lithium-ion battery
- Standard 802.11g Wi-fi networking, or optional 802.11a/g or 802.11 Wireless-N
- Standard integrated 8-in-1 media card reader to enable easy transfer of content from digital devices. Other ports include four USB ports, and IEEE 1394
- Choice of Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic or Home Premium or Ubuntu Linux distribution (Inspiron 1420 only)
- Base one-year limited warranty with optional Dell On Call “how-to” value-added services
- Starting weights: Inspiron 1420 – 5.39 pounds ; 1520/1521 – 6.40 /6.41 pounds; 1720/1721 – 7.62 /7.67 pounds.
- Starting Prices: Inspiron 1420 – $799; 1520/1521 – $849/$749; 1720/1721 – $999/$899.

Inspiron Desktops

Inspiron 530s


The Inspiron desktops are designed to serve as media hubs, with features including:

- Celeron to Intel Core 2 Duo processors (Inspiron 530 and 530s), AMD Sempron to Athlon 64 X2 dual core processors (Inspiron 531 and 531s)
- Optional internal Wi-Fi networking to avoid running Ethernet cable
- Large hard drive capacity (up to 500GB2) to store and manage large digital media files
- Integrated graphics for everyday productivity, to high performance discrete graphics supporting high resolution monitors and dual displays, 3-D gaming, HDTV (1080p)
- Ports include eight or ten USB 2.0 (slim-tower/mini-tower),
- Multi-media options including 13-1 media card reader, IEEE 1394, TV-Tuner cards, X-Fi sound cards
- Choice of Microsoft Windows Vista Basic or Premium or Ubuntu Linux distribution (Inspiron 530 only)
- Base one-year limited warranty with optional Dell On Call “how-to” value-added services
- Starting Prices: Inspiron 530/530s – $349; 531/531s – $349.

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This entry posted on June 26, 2007.

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