John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

“Dell Design” No Longer an Oxymoron

delladamo13-lg2jpgDell’s new high-end laptop is called the Adamo, but a better name for it might be the Anomaly, its design is such a departure from the crude aesthetic for which Dell (DELL) is known. Positioned as a rival to Apple’s (AAPL) MacBook Air, the device boasts an etched designer aluminum chassis and a 13.4-inch screen. Less than two-thirds of an inch at its thinnest point, it’s thinner than the Air, which, at 0.76 inches had previously laid claim to the title of world’s thinnest laptop. It is, however, a full pound heavier than the Air–four pounds to the Apple device’s three–though, like the Air, it lacks a standard internal optical drive (adding one will cost you $120). And like the Air, its heavy emphasis on design and craftsmanship comes at a price: $2000 for starters. “It’s for an affluent crowd, and somebody who’s fashion forward, style conscious–who wants to project an image of success and style,” John New, senior product marketing manager at Dell, told IDG. “They probably have a fine watch, and nice, name-brand accessories, and we want this to be one of them.”

A reasonable aspiration. But Dell’s unwieldy, Cro-Magnon designs have never really inspired that “gotta have it” impulse in consumers. Which, as ZDnet’s Larry Dignan notes, could prove problematic. “The problem is that you need a customer base that covets that approach and I’m not sure Dell has it,” he writes. “Apple’s strength is that it has a few million customers that will buy anything it puts out—because it’s either a fashion statement or the brand says something about them. The turn Dell is trying to make is a tough one right now.”