Dell redoes laptop line as part of major mobile push

Dell redoes laptop line as part of major mobile push

Dell Inc. unveiled a redesigned laptop line this week as part of a corporate plan to increase its laptop portfolio by 50% this year.

The PC manufacturer announced Tuesday that it made over its Vostro laptop line for small businesses with two new models, the 13.3 inch Vostro 1310 and the 15.4-inch Vostro 1510. A redesigned 17-inch Vostro 1710 laptop was also introduced.

The new and redesigned laptops are available now in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and are expected to be available in the United States by May 1.

Noting the dramatic growth of the laptop market, Dell pointed out that it plans to expand its laptop offerings by 50% percent by the end of 2008.

"Clearly, laptops are taking a greater share of the market," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64. "Intel just yesterday said laptops would make up 50% of the market by the end of the calendar year. People had said it would happen by 2010, maybe 2009 but it's looking like it'll be this year. Clearly, the volumes are there to justify [Dell's] move."

Dell has been chasing rival HP in the laptop battle for months now.

In January, Dell announced that it was closing its 140 retail kiosks around the U.S. as it turned its attention to major retail outlets like Best Buy Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Staples Inc. The move prompted Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc., to note at the time that Dell was mimicking market leader HP's channel strategy.

Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata, said it only makes sense that Dell would turn an increasing amount of attention to the laptop category since that's where all the market attention and growth is these days. "The desktop is a fairly static market at this point," he added. "The real action is in the mobile space, across a variety of form factors."

Brookwood noted that if Dell is going to grab some marketshare back from HP, which has a plethora of laptops, this is a move the company has to make right now.

"I think laptops have to be part of Dell's future growth plan," he said. "Any successful vendor clearly needs to be targeting that."

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