Dell steps up the lifestyle pace

Dell steps up the lifestyle pace

In the US, Dell has taken the wraps off a range of new printers, plasma televisions and music players that will soon be available through its website. Some of its televisions and a new all-in-one printer will be available in Australia before the end of the year.

Dell's two 42-inch plasma tele­visions are the company's first entry into that market, where it hopes to undercut its competitors.

Dell's high-end W4200HD will sell for $US3500 and support high­definition content, with resolution of 1024 x 768.

Dell will also offer the W4200ED, priced at $US2300, featuring resolution of 852 x 480.

"This is a logical extension of our flat-panel market," general manager and vice-president of Dell's US consumer business, Mike George, said.

Dell already offers several smaller LCD televisions. It has now added a new model to that line, introducing the 19-inch W1900 LCD TV, priced at $US900.

Dell also announced two new models in its Dell DJ (Digital Jukebox) line of digital music players. One of the new versions, the 5GB Pocket DJ, is a lightweight player intended to rival Apple's iPod Mini. Dell's Pocket DJ is larger than the iPod Mini, but it's also cheaper, with a retail price of $US200 versus the iPod Mini's $US250.

Dell's other new DJ is an updated version of its 20GB model. The company is adding Microsoft's Media Transfer Protocol and Digital Rights Management technology, code named Janus, to its media players.

The technology will be added to existing DJs later this year and in early 2005 to the new models introduced. Customers will be able to upgrade their DJs to incorporate the new software at Dell's website.

The new media players and the plasma TVs will be available for ordering later this month and will begin shipping in early November, Dell said.

The plasma TVs can currently only be shipped in the US, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, but George said Dell is working to expand distribution to Europe and Asia.

Dell also spotlighted two new photo printers, both of which are now shipping.

The Photo Printer 540, priced at $US190, is a dedicated photo printer with a 2.5-inch LCD screen and a digital memory card reader that allows users to view and print images without an attached PC.

The printer also includes a suite of photo editing software.

The All-in-One Printer 942 also includes a small photo screen and can print photos, though it is more geared for everyday printing tasks. It is priced at $US150, and handles printing, copying, faxing and colour scanning.

Dell held its holiday showcase at the DigitalLife show in New York, where George said the digital lifestyle idea is one Dell will be focusing on as it crafts its products and advertising campaigns.

The company is experimenting with four of its 80 Dell Direct stores (which do not carry inventory; shoppers can evaluate Dell products at the shops but still need to order them online), redesigning them around a digital life theme to show how Dell's products can work together in the home.

If those prototype stores - in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles - prove popular, Dell will expand the design, George said.

A spokesperson for Dell Australia said the company was on target to introduce televisions, including a HDTV model, to the local market before the end of the year.

The All-In-One Printer 942 will also be available here this year but there are currently no plans to launch its Digital Jukebox range in Australia.

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