Dell’s Irish operations are expected to benefit significantly from the launch of Dell’s first handheld computer, the Axim X5.
Initially available in the US, Canada and Mexico, the Axim X5 will launch in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in early 2003 – most likely February, according to Dell sources.
The EMEA launch is expected to be a boost to Dell’s facilities in Limerick and Bray, as the Axim will require multi-language localisation and product service and support for various markets.
As Dell is outsourcing the manufacture of the Axim to an undisclosed contract manufacturer, Limerick will have no product or assembly role. A spokesperson for Dell emphasised, however, that it was a Dell product in every other way. “The design is ours and we do all the localisaton, validation (testing and quality control) and product support,” she said.
Gary Tierney, client product manager for Dell Ireland, said it was too early to say whether any new jobs would be created in the Irish operations.
Tierney would not disclose any sales targets for the device in Ireland but said Dell would be looking to leverage its strong position in the corporate, small business and residential markets. “We’re very successful at selling computers and systems into homes and small businesses and we have close on 40pc of the corporate market for notebooks, so we have the proven ability to succeed,” he said.
He added that corporate customers like to standardise on one brand of PDA for their staff and the launch of the Axim X5 would allow them to deal with a single supplier across a range of hardware devices – hopefully Dell.
“Our corporate customers have their own Premier Pages on our website through which they deal with us. It makes life a lot easier on them,” said Tierney.
Dell has yet to announce pricing information for the EMEA market but its pricing strategy in the US suggests that it will undercut rivals such as Palm and iPaq in all markets in which the device is launched.
“Our unique selling proposition is price,” said Tierney.
By Brian Skelly