Dell has announced several new products including a music player and a music download service, designed to help the company ease its way into the digital home.
Dell also introduced a 17-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) television and new a Axim personal digital assistant. Dell chairman and chief executive officer Michael Dell declined to provide specific configurations for any of the products, which will be rolled out to US customers in time for the holiday shopping season, he said.
A source told IDG last week that the Dell Digital Jukebox music player will come with 15GB of storage, and that the Axim X3 will come in several different configurations. Dell confirmed that the new Axim will be slimmer than the older design, and come with integrated 802.11b wireless connectivity as an option.
Details about the new Dell Music Store were also sketchy, but it is expected to be available in time for the end-of-year shopping season. Dell would not confirm which music labels would be participating in the store, but said that consumers would find a wide variety of songs available for download at competitive prices as compared to other download stores.
Customers in other parts of the world will see the new products in the coming year, Dell said.
Although most of the products announced were peripherals, the company's vision of the digital home places the PC at the nerve centre of home networks, and it will ship media software with all new Dimension desktops, Dell said. The Dell Media Experience software will allow consumers to manage digital pictures, music and videos, he said.
The company will also ship a new Dell XPS Dimension desktop, its top of the line desktop system, in the coming weeks, as well as a new projector priced for the consumer market, Dell said.
Dell's announcement is part of a growing trend in the PC industry toward the consumer electronics business. Gateway and Apple Computer have aggressively rolled out consumer electronics products such as digital televisions and music players over the last year, and many observers feel that the PC industry is on the brink of a fundamental change.
Dell's consumer business represents about 15 to 20 per cent of the company's business, so it's unlikely that the company will turn its back on corporate customers any time soon, Dell said. But consumers have kept the technology world afloat over the past two years, and more and more companies are hoping to grab a piece of that market.
As part of yesterday's announcement, Dell vice president and chief marketing officer Mike George previewed a redesign of Dell's Web site, due to be launched in mid-October, that will make it easier for consumers and corporate customers to find the products they want and provide more information about those products, George said.