New From Dell, a Luxury Laptop - WSJ.com
Dell Inc. began taking orders for its new ultrathin, high-end Adamo notebook computer, as the company strives to make inroads into the consumer PC market.
The Adamo, which starts at $1,999, is Dell's first foray into luxury notebook computers. It comes to market two years after founder Michael Dell returned as chief executive in an attempt to revive the struggling Round Rock, Texas, company.
With the Adamo, Dell follows rivals Apple Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. into extra-thin, lightweight notebooks. Apple created the category when the company introduced its MacBook Air laptop in early 2008. H-P last year introduced its Voodoo Envy laptop, which has a painted carbon-fiber case.
"We're focusing on the fashion" rather than technical features, said John New, Dell's director of consumer marketing. "We want the user to be presented with this and feel special about what they're getting."
[Dell Adamo] Dell
Dell's Adamo laptop will start at $1,999
The Adamo's metal case comes in black and iridescent white versions. Dell says that at 0.65 inch thick, it is the thinnest notebook personal computer in production. Its technical specifications are similar to Apple's MacBook Air, which starts at $1,799.
* Dell Goes Thin with Adamo
Dell has also signed up the fashion line Tumi to design carrying cases for the Adamo.
When Mr. Dell returned as CEO, his company was grappling with a relatively weak presence in the consumer PC market. Mr. Dell said he would reinvent the company, which was known for selling low-price PCs in bulk to corporations.
The PC maker has since introduced new consumer PCs including inexpensive laptops and desktops. Last week, Dell also released a touchscreen desktop aimed at families.
Still, the weak economy and declining PC demand has hurt Dell's business. Last month, Dell said profit had plunged 48% for its fiscal fourth quarter.
The Adamo faces tough conditions. In addition to falling PC sales, the prices of computers have been sliding. Sanford Bernstein & Co. analyst Toni Sacconaghi recently said "a broad shift to low-cost computing is a long-term possibility" as consumers gravitate to less-expensive products during the downturn.
Mr. New said Dell doesn't expect to sell a high volume of Adamo notebooks, because the high price makes it a niche product. He added that Dell plans to expand the Adamo brand with other PCs.
Write to Justin Scheck at email@example.com and Rex Crum at firstname.lastname@example.org