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Dell Prepares CE Rollout

New York — Dell Computer is busily working on its upcoming consumer electronic product rollout, which if all goes according to plan could be ready for the 2003 holiday selling season.

The direct computer seller made it known several months ago it would delve into this space, but the company is still not revealing what type of Dell-branded CE products it will eventually sell. David Schwarzbach, Dell’s senior manager for product marketing, said the CE products will tie into Dell’s core PC in some manner. In the same manner that the company did when it initially expanded outside the PC area with its PDA and inkjet printer businesses.

Selling CE products through Dell’s direct model will be a challenge because consumers tend to enjoy handling them prior to making a purchase, Schwarzbach said, Dell will hopefully avoid this problem by using a series of 3D models and in-depth product descriptions on its Web site.

The fact that most Dell customers are already accustomed to buying computer products online and these are the same people that will likely make CE purchases on the site so the trust factor should not be an issue, Schwarzbach said.

In addition there are the 60 mall-based Dell kiosks where people can go and physically check out a product before committing to a purchase, he said. Dell will probably expand the kiosk program to additional malls and airports for this holiday season, said a company spokesman.