By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. September 10, 2014
Dell announced new additions to its commercial client portfolio that it said address evolving workforce issues by enabling businesses to embrace, “sleek and innovative form factors to accomplish their productivity goals.” Dell’s new solutions include:
- Additions to the Latitude family of commercial PCs, including the new Latitude 13 7000 Series; a 2-in-1that combines a lightweight business Ultrabook and a detachable tablet in one powerful device; the new Latitude 12 5000 Series that joins the Latitude 14 and 15 5000 Series and sports a design that is 20 percent thinner than the previous model; the new Latitude 14 and 15 3000 Series that offer the essential features of a business-class laptop with the right balance of mobility, productivity and affordability; and, the Latitude 14 Rugged that expands Dell’s fully rugged line with fourth generation QuadCool thermal management, an expansive 14” outdoor-readable display and a standard resistive touch display, meaning users’ gloves can stay on.
- New OptiPlex 9020 and 3020 Micro PCs provide the power employees expect in a desktop, yet also answer the needs of smaller and specialized working spaces. Dell says the OptiPlex 9020 Micro is ideal for environments where space is limited and security is a priority, while the OptiPlex 3020 Micro provides essential business-class performance in a compact unit.
- The Dell Chromebox and Chromebox for Meetings are small, cloud-based PC solutions. The former is designed to provide SMBs with a secure and managed computing experience and is a perfect fit for a variety of uses, including education centers, testing facilities, and kiosks, as well as home and small offices. The latter was developed with the mobile workforce in mind, and allows organizations to hold high definition video meetings across multiple devices while encouraging real time collaboration, regardless of their location.
- New monitors, including the Dell 55 with a 55-inch widescreen display that delivers full HD resolution and a 3000:1 contrast that provides exceptional clarity for presentations, schematics and video calls, and can also be used with the Dell Chromebox for Meetings. The company also displayed the Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor, the world’s first display with Ultra HD 5K resolution (5120 x 2880) that is equivalent to 4X the resolution of QHD and 7X the resolution of Full HD.
- The company also introduced Dell KACE K1000 Express, a free, easy-to-use IT inventory solution that manages warranty status, BIOS and driver updates across a company’s Dell devices. With K1000 Express, customers gain a holistic view of their hardware and software assets, encompassing tablets, desktops and servers. K1000 Express complements other Dell endpoint management offerings, including the encryption, authentication and malware prevention solutions in its Data Protection portfolio, integrated management capabilities in Latitude and OptiPlex offering, and the Dell Client Command Suite’s free automation tools for deploying, monitoring and updating systems.
Dell refines and redefines its commercial client portfolio.
Believe it or not, in the IT departments of the ancients (say, 7 to 10 years ago), companies were typically known as “Windows shops” (though the occasional “Mac shop” also slipped through the cracks). Workers were made to use whatever PCs their companies provided, whether they liked them or not. Times were hard, of course, but complaints were addressed with the corporate equivalent of, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”
Things are a bit different in today’s workplaces. In most cases, people have some choice regarding the personal computing devices they use, and many are offered company subsidies for buying preferred products. More importantly, though, the migration of personal technology into every facet of business has resulted in the disappearance of the artificial barriers platforms and user interfaces (UIs).
Without giving the matter much thought, many people shift effortlessly between Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome and other operating environments no matter where they are or what they’re doing. But what may be easy for end users creates a quandary for many vendors. A very few—Apple and Google, mainly—stick with their own homogeneous, proprietary OSs and UIs (the Mac OS and iOS for the former, Android and Chrome for the latter).
Commercial OEMs face greater challenges in working with customers and then fulfilling and anticipating their needs. Dell’s new commercial client solutions are an excellent example of what transpires when a vendor gets it right.
The new products leverage a range of form, function, quality and innovation features and significantly expand the number of applications and use cases where Dell solutions can be applied. For example, Dell has added notable new models across its entire Latitude family, including the value (3000), mainstream (5000), high-end (7000) and hard use (Rugged) lines. The standouts here are the Latitude 13 7000 Series, a sleek 2-in-1 Ultrabook/tablet, and the Latitude 14 Rugged, a highly mobile laptop for the most extreme industrial and military applications.
In contrast, Dell’s new OptiPlex 9020 and 3020 Micro PCs are designed to support desktop computing without cluttering the desktop itself. These compute modules are tiny in comparison to most PCs (in fact, they’re 67% smaller than Dell’s smallest conventional PC form factor) and can be easily concealed or even attached to the back of Dell displays.
Regarding displays, Dell’s new solutions approach the market at what might be called the high and large end. The Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor offers jaw-droppingly sharp resolution that will make you feel like putting your old HD monitors out of their misery. The new Dell 55 looks more like a widescreen LCD TV than a computer monitor but can support full PC functions, including support for up to 16 participants using Dell’s new Chromebox for meetings.
Speaking of which, Chromebox for Meetings, along with the standard Dell Chromebox are perhaps the most intriguing of these new solutions and represent a considerable extension of the company’s relationship with Google. Exactly how and how well Dell Chromebox solutions will play out commercially is hard to tell, but the success the company has enjoyed with Chromebooks and other Google-enabled devices makes these new solutions a good bet.
Finally, Dell’s new KACE K1000 Express solution further extends the company’s muscular approach to providing the tools customers need to deal with extensive, complex, often unwieldy commercial client environments and infrastructures. These may not be the Dell products that first spring to mind, but they surely make life easier for the IT staff managing these environments and more secure for owner organizations.
Overall, these latest offerings offer clear insights into Dell’s efforts as a commercially-focused vendor. Rather than pursuing innovation for innovation’s sake, the company instead focuses on solving the common, real-world problems its customers face day in and day out. During the past half-decade, Dell has also stepped up its design game to the point that it can and does compete head-to-head with some of the industry’s heaviest hitters.
The company’s main competitive advantage may be that continuing laser focus on fulfilling businesses’ evolving computing needs and requirements, in any locale and circumstance. If past success is any measure of future opportunities, these newest Dell commercial client solutions should find many ready and willing customers.
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