Dell gives glimpse at its smallest desktop ever

PC will be 81% smaller and use 70% less energy than standard minitower

Dell Inc. Chairman and CEO Michael Dell announced that the company is working on a desktop computer that is slated to be 81% smaller than a standard minitower machine, while using 70% less energy. It also comes in recycled and recyclable packaging.

Dell, speaking yesterday at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Pasadena, Calif., as part of Earth Day observances, said that the new machine will be the "company's smallest and most environmentally responsible consumer desktop PC."

Sell said the new system should hit the market "later this year."

Just last week, the PC maker announced that it would increase its laptop portfolio by 50% by the end of this year. Dell has been chasing rival Hewlett-Packard Co. in the PC battle -- both desktops and laptops -- for months now.

In January, Dell had announced it was closing its 140 retail kiosks to focus on selling from major retail outlets such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Staples. Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc., said at the time that Dell was trying to catch up to market leader HP by mimicking its channel strategy.

Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat in Scottsdale, Ariz., said Dell is beginning to respond to emerging markets much better that in past years.

"I think [small computers] are a long-term trend, and it deals with the quality of the experience," he added. "People don't want to hear that fan running. They don't want their PC to take up too much room. It's becoming more and more important in the market."

And McGregor noted that even though the market is increasingly moving away from desktops and toward laptops, there's still call for a small desktop machine. "What I want in my kid's room and in my den and in my office are all different," he added. "What [people] want depends on the environment and what I'm going to do with it. A small form-factor desktop definitely still has a place."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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