Dell is now getting clobbered in their traditional stronghold: cheap computers. HP and Toshiba are eating their lunch with products and support that are actually decent for the price.
So Dell has done a couple of very un-Dell like things:
1. They buy the boutique PC vendor Alienware – high-end, high-margin systems
2. They develop their ‘XPS’ line of desktops and laptops
Why? Because they’re profits are dropping precipitously at the low end as more people have problems with their systems and realize that they’re support isn’t up to snuff. People are buying, instead, from HP and Toshiba, who are currently providing deep discounts at retail.
The XPS line, from what we’ve seen so far, contains pretty good components – although we won’t really know how these systems hold up for another year or more.
And Dell is charging good money for anything with the XPS label. Their margins are higher, and apples to apples with other companies, their pricing is only fair. Combined with sub-par support (though they claim they’re committing $100M this year to improving support), we still can’t recommend Dell products.
On the low end, look at HP, Toshiba, or even Lenovo’s new 3000 line.