Juniper Research @ Dell Technology Camp 2011
Yesterday Juniper Research went to Dell’s Technology Camp 2011 in London, where we were given the chance to test drive the company’s products and chat with Dell employees involved in their design and promotion. The day started with keynotes from executives from Dell, but also from key partners Intel and Microsoft. The theme for these keynotes was increasing data usage, particularly as a result of smartphones, with Intel stating that for every 600 smartphones that reached the market, it sold an additional server (highlighted by a 32% increase in its revenue from its server business). In terms of these devices, Dell showcased the Venue Pro, its latest smartphone model. Running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 the device is designed with the prosumer in mind, with this OS providing the familiar Office 2010 environment to users, and a slide-out hard-key QWERTY keyboard. The device has a 1GHz single-core Qualcomm processor and a 4.1 inch display. Also on show were its established Android devices the Dell Streak 5 and Dell Streak 7 (5 inch and 7 inch displays respectively). The former is particularly interesting as it sits in between the smartphone and tablet markets in terms of size. In discussion with Adam Griffin, Senior Product Manager for EMEA at Dell, we agreed that for classification purposes it was in the former category. Griffin was keen to highlight though that it had the advantages of both: in that it could still be held in a phone-like manner, but had a larger screen than most smartphones, making it more comfortable for viewing video. Michael Smith, one of Dell’s engineers involved in its design, highlighted that the aim was to provide a larger device, but one that could still fit comfortably into a coat pocket. The Dell Streak 5 remains unique in the market, with devices from other vendors currently peaking at 4.3 inches. Smith suggested that one reason might be a supply chain issue: vendors would find it costly to change form factors from the industry standard. Whilst speaking with Griffin, I was also keen to find out how Dell would move forward and build on its relatively recent foray into the smartphone market. He emphasised a key aspect of this was building an “ID”, or image: giving Dell’s smartphones a distinctive design which would mean existing users became a means of spreading the company’s products virally. In this respect, I see this as similar in strategy, though not design to Apple’s effective use of white plastic, polished chrome and glass to create a fashionable, contemporary look. Likewise Blackberry has its distinctive style of a hard-key full QWERTY keyboard sitting below the screen, targeting prosumers sending business communiqué via email, or consumers texting or using RIM’s Blackberry Messenger, for example. With regards to markets, Griffin stated that in Europe a key strategy would be developing relationships with operators, though in other markets, such as the Middle East, pricing would be more important. While not available in the European markets, it will be interesting to watch the market in months to come to see whether Dell launches its Venue (a touchscreen-only Android version of the Venue Pro which was first launched in Asia, and now available in the US) or another similar product here, a move which would situate it more in the consumer market for smartphones.