The PC market is not a very good business to be in right now. Growth is slowing, Windows 8 isn’t helping, and vendors are rehashing old gimmicks in an effort to turn things around. Beyond declining shipment figures and sinking average selling prices (ASPs), there is another number industry watchers keep their eye on that will almost certainly shock people who don’t follow the PC business closely: the amount of money, on average, that PC vendors make for each computer sold. More →
Earlier this week we gave you a rundown of 4K displays at CES that were actually affordable for many consumers. Now, however, Dell has done all those displays one better by releasing a new 28-inch 4K monitor that costs only $699. The new P2815Q monitor features a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and is a full $100 cheaper than the other low-cost 4K displays we’ve seen at CES this week, such as the Lenovo ThinkVision Pro2840m and the Asus PB287Q. The new monitor will officially release on January 23rd so you won’t have to wait too much longer to get your hands on one.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Dell offered buyout packages to a portion of its massive workforce. The struggling computer maker currently has 110,000 employees, and with this “voluntary separation program” Dell hopes to streamline its operations. Dell spokesman David Frink said, “a critical element of our strategy has been, and always will be, about improving our cost structure and freeing up capital to make the investments in growth areas that matter to our customers.” Employees have until December 20th to accept the offer. Dell did not say how many jobs it hopes to cut. Dell has struggled to adapt to the post-PC era, with failed attempts at making smartphones and tablets. In addition, Windows 8.1, Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system, has failed to help slow slumping PC sales around the world.
Not even the Dell Dude could help convince us to buy a laptop that smells of cat urine. Per Engadget, it seems that Dell this week finally responded to some months-old complaints about certain Latitude E6430u laptop models that users complained smelled like cat urine. Dell apologized for the laptops’ aromas but insisted that their stench was caused by “a manufacturing process that has now been changed,” and “is not in any way related to biological contamination.” To further comfort users, the PC maker said that it extensively tested out the laptops to make sure that they weren’t contaminated with urine or other biological wastes at any point during the manufacturing and shipping processes.
Anyone who thinks the new Surface Pro 2 looks terrific but is put off by the price may have a new alternative. Dell on Wednesday announced its new Venue 11 Pro, a new tablet that not only runs Windows 8.1 but is priced starting at just over $550 and features a 10.6-inch display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, an Intel Atom quad-core Bay Trail processor, a removable battery and up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The Surface Pro 2, by contrast, offers a similar set of specifications and is priced starting at $899. The Venue 11 Pro will be available in the United Kingdom starting on November 7th. Dell’s full press release follows below. More →
Remember the Dell Streak? If not then we envy you since it was certainly one of the least inspiring flagship smartphones the world has ever seen. With this in mind, it’s good to hear that the now-private Dell has no plans to get back into the smartphone game anytime soon. In an interview with CNBC, Dell founder Michael Dell said that his company wouldn’t be making a new smartphone anytime soon and would only act as a reseller of other companies’ devices. Dell said that his company was taking a longer-term view with its investments and would focus much more on long-term growth instead of on quarterly numbers.
Michael Dell fought Carl Icahn and came out on top. Dell announced on Thursday that its shareholders had approved its founder’s plan to take the company private, despite overtures of a potentially more lucrative deal proposed by activist investor Carl Icahn. Dell will buy back the company at a cost of nearly $25 billion, which includes payments of $13.75 per share to stockholders and “payment of a special cash dividend of $0.13 per share to stockholders of record as of a date prior to the effective time of the merger.” The deal’s final value is around $2 billion higher than the deal that Dell had proposed this past winter. Dell’s full press release follows below. More →
Dell’s potential savior might be a $100 USB stick that instantly turns any monitor into an Android-based computer, but the struggling PC maker has no intentions of putting all its eggs in one basket. Windows 8.1 is getting ready for liftoff and Dell’s vice chairman Jeff Clarke recently stated that the company has high hopes for the new version of Microsoft’s operating system. Clarke says Dell is planning several new tablets for the second half and according to Digitimes’ supply chain sources, Dell will launch an 8-inch Windows tablet later this year that will target the enterprise market. The site also says Dell is considering a 10.6-inch slate powered by either a Core i or an Atom processor, but no other details were provided.
Dell is said to be working on a new device under the code-name “Project Ophelia,” and reports suggest it will essentially be an Android-powered computer on a USB stick. The struggling PC vendor will apparently use Ophelia to help reinvent itself as company founder Michael Dell continues his efforts to take Dell private, and now the computer on a stick is one step closer to launching. According to a recent report from IDG News Service, Dell’s Project Ophelia “can turn any screen or display with an HDMI port into a PC, gaming machine, or streaming media player,” and it is now shipping to beta testers ahead of a public release scheduled for this fall. The device will be priced around $100, IDG claims.
Windows 8 failed to boost PC sales and now vendors are scrambling to find the next big thing. Companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung, LG and Microsoft are all said to be interested in wearable technology, and according to The Guardian, Dell is “exploring ideas in that space” as well. Sam Burd, Dell’s global vice president of personal computing, noted that while there are “challenges in cost, and how to make it a really good experience,” he believes that wearable computing devices are very interesting and appealing to consumers. Burd explained that devices and form factors will “continue to change” over the next five years, adding that “we’re looking at a world of lots of connected devices.”
Microsoft released its Windows 8.1 preview to the public on Wednesday and it remains to be seen how users will respond. As it turns out, however, the PC industry may be poised to slow its current slide regardless of whether or not Microsoft’s big software update manages to drum up some excitement. According to unnamed industry sources speaking with Digitimes, PC chip suppliers are expected to see shipments pick up in the third quarter as vendors prepare to launch new notebook computers powered by Intel’s Haswell chipsets. The report claims PC makers are expecting sales to improve in the U.S. and China beginning in the third quarter, and component suppliers including Richtek Technology, Global Mixed-mode Technology, Elan Microelectronics and Egalax-empia Technology will begin to see revenue increase significantly beginning this month as orders ramp up.
A special committee setup by Dell’s board to examine Carl Icahn’s proposal to buy the company has found that the investor’s bid is short on funding, Reuters reported. Icahn’s offer countered founder and former CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners’ $24.4 billion buyout proposal. Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management offered to pay a special dividend to shareholders and allow them to keep their stake in the company, however the bid was found to be short $3.9 billion in cash. The investor’s cash allocation did not take into account Dell’s debt, expected cash flow shortages and various other fees relating to the termination of the deal with Michael Dell and Silver Lake. CNET reports that Dell’s board of directors is now encouraging shareholders to vote for Michael Dell and Silver Lake’s offer. The board notes that the deal, which would take the company private if approved, is the “best possible outcome for shareholders.”
One of the most intriguing concepts for the future of the PC industry we’ve heard lately has been Dell’s Project Ophelia, a USB thumb drive-sized “computer-on-a-stick” that can plug into any monitor’s USB port to transform it into a makeshift computer capable of running multiple operating systems. PCWorld reports that an early version of Ophelia that will only run Android will ship out to developers starting in July and could ship out to consumers as soon as August. The first version of Ophelia “will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities and is aimed at users who do most of their computing on the Web,” says PCWorld, which means that monitors using Ophelia will be more like Chromebooks than traditional PCs. More →