PC still king of the home, says Dell

10 Jan 2003

The PC – not the TV – will be the hub of the home entertainment system in the years to come, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell told delegates at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday.

Dell was responding to Sony president Kunitake Ando’s prediction that smart television sets would become the centre of the domestic entertainment experience.

“Whether the TV or the PC is the centre of the universe is an interesting debate, but I don’t think it’s that relevant. I would stick by my belief that the PC is becoming the centre of the entertainment experience,” he said.

In his speech at CES, Dell hinted that the world’s fastest growing PC maker would continue to expand its product range. Dell recently began selling its own brand of handheld computers – the Axim range – and has announced its intention to enter the printer market, which is currently dominated by HP.

“We’re seeing a networked lifestyle where more and more devices are able to talk,” he said.

He added: “We find that in a lot of these markets people are paying too much for these products and the efficiency of Dell’s business model can benefit them.”

Another heavyweight speaker at the show was Intel CEO Craig Barrett. In his keynote speech, he outlined his vision of a wireless future, in which technological innovation would give consumers the freedom to connect to people, information and entertainment at any time from any place on any device.

Noting the emergence of a new breed of ‘digital consumer’ that is very comfortable with electronic gadgets and who has high expectations of what tomorrow’s devices must deliver, Barrett predicted that “all consumers will be digital consumers”.

He added: “Consumers will be drawn to devices that give them greater mobility, productivity and style, as well as new ways to enjoy digital music, movies, photos and games in more places. Unwiring the consumer minimises physical connections and inspires people’s imaginations to explore new ways to work, live and play through easy-to-use technology.”

Echoing Dell’s earlier assertion about the ongoing primacy of the PC, Barrett said powerful PCs connected to the internet and a broad array of such new digital products as digital cameras, MP3 players and personal digital assistants (PDAs) have become a reality for consumers worldwide.

“The PC remains the most powerful and flexible device available to consumers and it continues to evolve with new capabilities,” he stated. “The PC is becoming unwired; wireless technologies are being integrated into the PC, which will offer the user more freedom and flexibility.”

Barrett said that in the first half of this year, Intel would introduce the Intel Centrino mobile technology for notebook computers. The technology includes a wireless capability as well as features designed to enable extended battery life, thinner and lighter designs and enhanced mobile performance.

By Brian Skelly