Dell Puts Linux and Atom in Vostro PCs for Emerging Markets

Dell unveiled Wednesday two new laptops and two desktops in its Vostro range designed to meet the needs of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), governments, and educational institutions in emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The products run the Ubuntu Linux distribution and have been engineered to provide the basic features required by customers in these market segments in emerging economies, said Steve Felice, Dell's president for the Asia-Pacific region and Japan, in a webcast from Beijing on Wednesday.

The new products have for example been designed to take advantage of graphics capabilities integrated with Intel processors. For more advanced graphics, customers will have to turn to other products in the Vostro line, Felice said.

Where Dell previously designed products for developed markets, and introduced them later in emerging markets, the focus has shifted to designing products exclusively for emerging markets, Felice said.

The focus of the new Vostro line is on affordability, ease of maintenance, and preset configurations, said Kirk Schell, director of corporate marketing, in Dell's Business Product Group.

In India, the lowest priced laptop in the new range is the A840 laptop, running a Celeron 560 processor, which will sell for about 22,900 Indian rupees (US$522). The product will be priced similarly in other markets, with variations mainly on account of import duties and local taxes, Dell's country manager for India Sameer Garde said in a meeting in Bangalore after the webcast.

Dell did not however disclose the entry price for its new range of desktops.

The Atom processor from Intel figures in one desktop model in the new range, the entry-level A100. The other products have a range of Intel processors from the Celeron to Core 2 Duo, Dell said.

The Linux operating system is being used by SMEs in emerging countries, which is the reason why the company decided to offer Ubuntu on the new product line, Garde said. Except for the desktop running the Atom processor, users have the option to use Windows Vista from Microsoft, Dell said.

More products for emerging markets are planned for the coming months, Dell said.

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