September 12, 2006 9:49 AM PDT

Dell paints a sunny, customizable future

NEW YORK--Dell executives on Tuesday rolled out new products and initiatives aimed at keeping the embattled PC giant afloat in an increasingly competitive market.

As user-generated "Web 2.0" content has taken the Internet by storm, Dell chose to focus on the topic of consumer experience customization at this year's Dell Technology Day, held in the Westin Times Square hotel here.

Dell's new desktops

Using the moniker "Dell 2.0" to describe the company's aim at revitalization, CEO Kevin Rollins laid out a set of goals and initiatives that emphasized service improvements and a reach into emerging markets, especially India, Brazil, China and Central Europe.

After showing a montage of new Dell commercials that showcase its new "Purely You" slogan, Rollins delivered a keynote address that touched upon a "holistic" willingness to partner with other companies. He also announced that Dell's partnership with storage manufacturer EMC would be extended for another five years.

Rollins underscored Dell's remote-access tech support service, DellConnect, which has been in effect since May. Additionally, Rollins announced "significant enhancements to Dell.com" that will focus on interactivity.

Accompanying the "Dell 2.0" revitalization talk was the announcement of several new Dell desktops, including the Dimension E520, E521 and C521 models. The E-series computers are designed for maximum customizability, and the slimmer C521 is marketed as an entertainment machine for the more mainstream user.

Two of the models, the $329 E521 and $359 C521, are Dell's first computers to feature AMD processors, providing a choice between Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 chips. The pricier E520, starting at $719, offers Intel Pentium D and Core 2 Duo processor options.

An additional new model in Dell's desktop lineup is the compact XPS 210, a foot-tall tower priced at $1,190.

On the enterprise side, Rollins' announcements at Technology Day focused on energy conservation, including a new energy-efficiency initiative. The company's newly announced OptiPlex 745 business desktop claims to reduce power consumption by 70 percent when coupled with a 17-inch monitor. The desktop uses an efficient Core 2 Duo E6300 processor and HyperCool thermal-management technology.

The problems that have recently plagued Dell, including exploding batteries and plunging earnings, were understandably left out of the forward-thinking "Dell 2.0" fanfare.

The issues surfaced only during question-and-answer sessions at Rollins' keynote speech and founder Michael Dell's closing speech. Even then, the topics were often dodged. Most notably, Dell shrugged off a question about the Securities and Exchange Commission probe that has delayed the company's second-quarter report. "There's not really a whole lot more" than what was said in Monday's press release, Dell said.

Dell also gave a clear message to analysts and critics who have called for Rollins to step down as CEO. "I disagree with that," was his only response.

See more CNET content tagged:
Kevin Rollins, initiative, Dell, AMD Athlon 64, Intel Core 2 Duo

8 comments

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Dell copies Apple in everything
Apple is what Dell is after. First the attempt at making stylish computers (yeah right), now the stores. They are even copying Apple's stock options scandals :-)
Posted by bommai (172 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple copied Gateway
Gateway did this first if I remember right. Apple just had better success with it.
Posted by Brian Scates (8 comments )
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OEM are being forced to by Guess Who ?
Acctually Microsoft is pushing all the OEMs to make the PC stylish, they wrote a paper on that, they want all OEM that sell their Windows, to copy Apple :- )

Not just Dell.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
Dell wants to be Apple?
Perhaps it's the other way around. Apple may have the cool factor, but Dell still posts more than three times the revenue ($55.9B vs. $17.3B) and more than twice the Net income ($3.6B vs. $1.7B). Considering that the two companies exist for money - not some high school popularity contest - I'm sure that Apple would much rather be in Dell's shoes. At least, the people (employees, stock holders, etc.) that make apple possible would.
Posted by cwhissen (34 comments )
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Like the choice between Intel and AMD chips?
Dell certainly isn't copying Apple there.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Link Flag
This statement is as ridiculous
as saying Apple copies Dell because it's now using Intel chips.

By the way, why are we now always seeing Apple references in comments on articles about Dell? Is this called Apple zealot insecurity or Apple zealot snobbism? Or, is this simply a demonstration of runner-ups taking a shot at the Champion at every opportunity?
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Link Flag
I think Dell is moving in the right direction....
More call center personnel.
More choices on Processor Platform (consumer systems).
Incorporating Opteron into Multi-way servers.

I would just recommend looking into moving AMD into Optiplex line as well.

Things will get better for Dell as it looks like they are finally making their own decisions.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
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