Dell’s New Fall PC Lineup Includes Revived Vostro for Small Businesses
In a move designed to redefine its lineup of PCs targeted at small businesses, Dell is reviving its Vostro family of laptops and desktops in North America with two new systems that will become available in November.
Dell’s Vostro launch at the annual IFA technology conference in Berlin, which begins today and runs through next week, is part of the fall refresh of the company’s small business and consumer PC lineups. At IFA, Dell also is unveiling a substantive redesign of its flagship Inspiron line with its first Amazon Alexa-compatible model. In another first, Dell is adding a “premium” Chromebook to the Inspiron line and rolling out updates to its high-end XPS 13 line.
Reviving the Vostro portfolio in North America comes years after introducing it with fanfare and later releasing updates in other countries but de-emphasizing it in the U.S. The company quietly brought the Vostro line back to North America earlier this year, and the November refresh will come with a new push.
“Customers came to us loudly and asked us for a uniquely designed chassis that sits in between the consumer and commercial lines,” said Raza Haider, VP of Dell’s Inspiron and Vostro product group, during a media preview in New York earlier this month. “From a design perspective, it appeals more to small businesses, with its own identity.”
The Vostro sports a more durable and commercial appearance than the consumer Inspirons, but not with the high-end capabilities of the enterprise-focused Latitudes or the vogue XPS line.
“It has some unique small-business hardware features that the consumer products don’t, namely a TMP [trusted platform module for hardware-based encryption], anti-glare screens and additional I/O ports,” Haider said. The notable I/O features on Vostro include an Ethernet connector and a USB-C port with support for display port.
Dell’s new Vostro laptops include 14-inch and 15-inch models that each are powered by an 8th Generation Core processor and both have a starting price of $499. It remains to be seen whether partners will broadly embrace the revival of Vostro.
“That brand has come and gone; they made a huge deal about and then it fell by the wayside and now they’re trying to bring it back again,” said Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst with TECHnalysis Research.
Nevertheless, he believes it has a place.
“I think it’s encouraging that companies are offering more and more microsegmentation of the market and trying to find the right products for the right people and targeting them,” he added. “Obviously, part of that is also having different products for different channels.”
Dell’s Haider also talked up the new Inspiron Chromebook, a 14-inch convertible powered by a higher-end 7th Generation Core i3 with 128 GB of storage, a stylus and claimed battery life of 10 hours. While the new Chromebook is part of the consumer portfolio, Haider described it as the company’s first premium Chromebook, which he believes will appeal to millennials who might want to use them in the workplace.
“It suits their personality versus some of the more ‘cheapish’ Chromebooks out there,” he said.
The XPS 13 lineup includes a version of the convertible that is now powered with an 8th Generation processor. Tthe clam-shell-based model is now available with a lower-end i3 processor. The company also released a new XPS 13 Developer Edition preloaded with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (long-term support), which includes support for up to five years.