October 14, 2004 5:32 AM PDT

Dell grapples with Apple in Mini arena

Dell is challenging Apple Computer's iPod Mini music player, as part of a plan to expand its brand name in the consumer electronics market.

As expected, the PC maker on Thursday launched a diminutive Dell Digital Jukebox portable music player, dubbed the Pocket DJ 5, along with a new line of plasma-screen televisions, a portable photo printer and an updated Dell DJ 20 music player.

The Pocket DJ 5, which will sell for $199 and offer 5GB of storage, will compete with Apple's 4GB iPod Mini, which sells for $249. The updated 20GB Dell DJ will sell for $249, a drop of $30 from the price of Dell's existing 20GB model. Dell plans to begin shipping them in November. Its current DJ 15 and DJ 20 models are likely to be phased out.

Dell believes that its relatively low prices on the music players and also on its plasma TVs, which start at $2,299, will help win over consumers.

The new DJ music players and the plasma TVs are only one aspect of a broader effort begun last year by Dell, which aims to gain a position in the so-called digital home market. Such consumers are beginning to use technology to share multimedia such as music and movies between PCs and more traditional electronic devices such as televisions and stereos. PC makers such as Dell aim to compete with traditional consumer electronics brands, such as Sony, for a piece of the digital home.

Since beginning its latest consumer electronics effort last year, Dell has introduced a number of televisions, printers and PCs. Yet Dell isn't aiming to deliver products just for the sake of becoming a consumer electronics brand, Mike George, general manager of Dell's U.S. consumer business, said Thursday at a trade show in New York.

"We don't believe in invention for the sake of invention," he said. "What we want a consumer to feel comfortable about when we intro a product is that this is a product, a technology and a usage model that's ready for primetime."


Photo gallery
iPods galore
Music fans everywhere adore
their players. Webshots users
share images of their iPods
partying, traveling and relaxing.

Instead, most of Dell's consumer electronics products, including the DJs, center on the PC. The company believes that the PC will be at the center of the digital home, acting as the brains and the storehouse of data. To that end, Dell has been touting easy-to-use multimedia software, including Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and its own Dell Media Experience. It hopes the software will become the linchpin for getting consumers more involved in sharing files between PCs and other more traditional consumer electronics devices, such as televisions.

On Tuesday, Dell unveiled plans for a new Dimension line of Media Center PCs based on Microsoft's Media Center operating system. Over time, Dell will offer the software across the range of its Dimension consumer desktops and Media Center versions of the machines will start at about $600, George said. Dell will charge $39 to cover the upgrade from Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition operating system to Windows XP Media Center 2005.

Dell is also offering a $275 Windows Media Extender, a device that allows its Media Center PCs to share content with other devices throughout a person's house. The extender will allow people to, among other things, watch video stored on their PC on one of its new plasma televisions.

TVs and printers
Given their extensive relationships with both consumers and suppliers of screens, hard drives and other components used to build electronics, PC makers including Dell and Hewlett-Packard have been eyeing consumer electronics as an area of potential growth for some time. Despite a mixed track record, the success of some products, particularly the iPod, have shown it's possible for computer makers to compete with established consumer brands such as Sony.

To that end, Dell has also extended its television line with two aggressively priced plasma-screen models.

Its W4200HD, a 42-inch plasma high-definition plasma TV is priced at $3,499, while its W4200ED enhanced definition, 42-inch plasma TV will sell for $2,299. The company will also offer installation services for the sets.

Dell's plasma TV prices are lower than many of the other brands on the market, the company said, because it sells huge numbers of computer monitors and can use relationships with suppliers to gain favorable prices. It also sells the sets directly to customers, eliminating retail mark-ups.

"We take that supply chain and design equity and we extend it" to TVs, George said. "Most other companies go through consumer channels and the consumer pays the mark-up." Dell also added two models to its printer line on Thursday. Its Photo Printer 540, priced at $189, is portable and creates 4-by-6-inch prints without a PC. The printer contains a 2.5-inch LCD screen, along with USB input, a PictBridge port for connecting cameras and a memory card reader that can download files from five different types of cards.

The company also updated its all-in-one inkjet printer line with the Dell 942 All-in-one Photo Printer, which will sell for $149. The printer adds features such as a 2.5-inch LCD screen for viewing photos.

Dell's new printers are available now, and the company plans to ship the televisions next month.

15 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Where Is It?
Where is it? What does it look like? Has anyone seen it? Has
anyone used it? What are its interfaces? What are is
capabilities?

COME ON! --- It's a joke right?
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Has anyone seen it?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_cr1_cr2_cr7a_cr5a_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_cr1_cr2_cr7a_cr5a_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
What are you doing?
Your article sounds more like a Dell pitch than a story. At the
end of the article you state that the Dell products can be ordered
now, and will begin shipping in the next month.,

You have provided no background, no pictures, no reviews, and
the headline of the story is totally misleading.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I Agree
Worthless waste of c|net space. I might as well have just read
the Dell release. If c|net can't do better, why exist. Guess you
have to keep your advertisers (Dell) happy though.
But, I can understand why they didn't run a photo of the new DJ,
it's butt ugly and looks like it has the same controls as the old,
larger brother that Dell could hardly give away. So, if you can't
say anything good, just run the release.
Posted by (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell release
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_bx300_service_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_bx300_service_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
Standing in Steve Jobs Shadow...(again)
Michael Dell, doesn't it get cold &#38; dark standing in Steve Job's
shadow?
If you can't innovate...imitate. Story of Dull's history.
Dull is the Wall-Mart od the entire computer industry.
cheaper, but legacy, jealosy, lousy,clunky wannabe rip-offs.
-Eyes wide open in Seattle -
Posted by (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell is Clueless
In IT, you just buy the lowest bid.

In real life, most people who buy tech do not. Sure, there are people with limited funds and Dell is there for them because when it's PC's - Dell is about being cheap.

But beyond the couple hundred people who will buy a $2,300 Plasma sight unseen and a couple thousand who might buy a Dell DJ to strip out the mini HDD - they will fail miserably.

Dell just doesn't get it - below $1,000 for a PC, it's all about the price but above that - Dell is the 4-door car rental sedan - good enough for the company car - not so much for your personal driveway. Buying a Dell for the house is saying you can't afford more. THat's why they can't compete with Alienware on the high-end PC market. Dell is aptly named - square and squat.
Posted by jbelkin (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
strip out the mini HDD
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_680zx_service_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_680zx_service_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
Dell vs. iPod
So Dell is playing the pricing game...

Their strategy looks good to me... I like how they are concerned for the customer's needs and wants...

A better product for a lesser price than iPod... doesn't get much better than that!
Posted by (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I forgot...
Forgot to include my Blog address in my entry...

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://allwaysmusic.modblog.com/" target="_newWindow">http://allwaysmusic.modblog.com/</a>
Posted by (59 comments )
Link Flag
Dell is clueless about this
1. I read the article online and was disappointed there were no photos of the DJ 5.
2. Read the article in the Wall Street Journal (paper) and there were no photos!
3. OK, 25% more music storage for 20% lower price. That sounds good, until you realize that:
a. it is not an iPod
b. 1 GB is no big deal
c. $50 is no big deal
4. If Dell actually starts to hurt Mini iPod sales, then Apple can easily up the capacity by one whole GB.
5. If Dell actually starts to negatively impact Mini iPod sales, then Apple can lower the price by $25.
6. Coolness counts. If the Dell device is not cool, then it will tank.

,dave
Posted by davebarnes (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mini iPod sales
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_582_service_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/nakamichi/nakamichi_582_service_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
Dell doesn't get it!
Dell has been undercutting apple for about a year now-ever since they came out with their "iPod killer" as Cnet put it about a year ago. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://reviews.cnet.com/Dell_Digital_Jukebox_DJ__15GB_/4505-6490_7-30582921-2.html?tag=tab" target="_newWindow">http://reviews.cnet.com/Dell_Digital_Jukebox_DJ__15GB_/4505-6490_7-30582921-2.html?tag=tab</a>

You could get a 20GB Dell DJ for less than an iPod 15GB 12 months ago. Where has that got them...nowhere....they don't get it. Simply reducing your price in this arena won't work, they are not selling boring old PC's. They should stick to giving them away with PC's - that's all they are worth!

In fact visiting Cnet is like that movie GROUNDHOG DAY, everytime I visit they have the *same* story on how Apple is going to fail and what the next "iPod killer" is. Hummm...I guess eventually they will be right, it could be years though..nice hedging Cnet!
Posted by dirk128 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Product Design?
Need I say more?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Need I say more?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/mercedes_clk_class_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/mercedes_clk_class_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.