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Dell Drops Dimension, Adds Notebooks

Dell re-tooled its branding strategy by relegating its well-known Dimension name to products only sold through third-party retailers. Going forward it will only use the Inspiron moniker for notebooks and desktops sold directly by the company.

The decision to separate Dimension from Dell’s direct products was to ease customer confusion and help Dell save money, the company said at a press event held last month. There is also the possibility the Dimension name may be totally scrapped. A Dell spokesman said the brand’s status “remains to be seen” as the company continues to study the name’s performance at Wal-Mart.

Eliminating the Dimension brand, which has been used by Dell for 20 years, from its direct product line will make is easier for Dell customers to understand the company’s product line up and help reduce internal costs, said Greg Willis, desktop brand manager. He gave no other specific reason for dropping the label, but said the growing sales of mobile platforms compared to desktops probably played a role in the decision.

The brand shift was only one of several changes Dell announced. The company also unveiled a new line of colorful notebook designs, a 13-inch XPS gaming notebook and a slim-line chassis desktop. All are available starting today.

Despite consolidating its computer product lines under one brand, Dell will increase the number of SKU choices available through its direct-ordering system, Willis said.

These new choices will include the Inspiron 1420, 1520, 1521, 1720 and 1721 notebooks. For the first time Dell customers can choose between eight colors for the notebook case: espresso brown, ruby red, bubblegum pink, jet black, spring green, alpine white, sunshine yellow and midnight blue. In the past Dell notebooks came with removable skins that enabled consumers to change colors.

The basic configuration for the entry-level 1420 has an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz processor 512MB of memory, 80GB to 16GB hard drives, DVD dual-format/dual-layer burner, media card slots and a 14.1-inch display. The specifications stay the same for the 1520 and 1521 except each has a 15.4-inch display and the 1521 is equipped with an AMD Turion 64 X2 dual core processor. The 1720 and 1721 are powered, respectively, by an Intel or AMD processor, and start with 1GB of memory. Hard drives of 120GB to 500GB are available along with DVD burner or Blu-ray Disc drive and a 17-inch display.

Pricing depends upon configuration.

The new XPS M1330 notebook features a 13-inch display and is being used by Dell to fill in the gap between its already available 12-inch model and larger XPS machines, said Willis.

The two new desktop models are the 530/530s and 531/531s. The 530 and 531 feature a mini-tower design with the 530 available with a variety of processors ranging from an Intel Celeron to a Core 2 Duo, 512MB to 4GB of dual-channel shared DDR2 memory, two hard-drive bays and two optical drive bays. The 531 can use an AMD Sempron to an Athlon 64 X2 processors, but is otherwise the same. The “s” models refer to the slim-line chassis versions. These have the same features as the larger models, but offer only a single optical drive. All the desktops have integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networking.

Pricing depends upon configuration.

Dell also added to its online service offering by giving away 3GB of online storage to all customers. The amount of space can be increased for an additional fee.