2 min read

Dell takes aim at netbooks with new Vostro line

New Vostros are thinner and come with an encased battery

New York –Michael Dell isn’t a big fan of the netbook and his company Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL)is trying to do something about it.

The company has designed new models for its Vostro notebook series targeted at the small-to-mid-size business market. With these new Vostros, Dell has manufactured a thinner notebook with multi-tasking performance at a price point slightly above a high-end netbook.

The entry level Vostro is priced at $449 and comes with a 13-inch screen, running Ubuntu Linux and powered by an Intel Celeron processor. But, it quickly scales up from there. For $649, Vostro will sport a Dual Core chip for example.

According to Alison Gardner, a Dell senior product manager for the Vostro series, the 13-inch screen size Vostro series is the first foray for the vendor into the ultra value space. It has an aggressive form factor of 0.65 inches thick weighing 3.5 pounds.

“It was important for Dell to design a product that has value for the money. People do not want a cheap notebook anymore and the new ULV processor can get us to this thin form factor and it’s more powerful than the Adam line of netbooks,” Gardner said.

Besides getting thinner, Dell’s industrial design team put in more durability elements into Vostro such as encasing the unit in anodized aluminium, using zinc hinges that can easy opening and close the notebook more than 20 times a day, finger print and scratch free surface, spill resistant keyboard and a magnesium alloy palm rest, she added.

The machines, which also come with standard Bluetooth camera, WiFi, VGA port, free fall sensor and online data back up software, has been designed for SMB users, business travellers and road warriors.

IDC has recently come out with a forecast that shows small business customers are outpacing medium and large enterprises in terms of IT spend. “It’s now a bigger market opportunity than it was before so we had to evolve the Vostro brand and add more products to address this need in the market.

“We looked at the customer uses for these models and we saw a need for a stylistic, thin and light category. This category has grown in previous years and you’ll see products in the mid-range and high end for Dell’s competition. This is high-end but with a price point that’s affordable,” Gardner said.

The new Vostro models will be sold through the indirect channel through Dell’s Partner Direct authorized resellers. “It is important for Dell to build this brand through the channel for the SMB. We want to make the channel more aware of the Vostro brand. It’s an important part of our business going forward,” she said.

The new Vostros will have a six cell battery that is sealed inside the notebook that will get on average 4.42 hours of battery life per charge. Dell will be offering a battery replacement service with this notebook. Pricing and channel details have not been finalised on this services, Gardner said.