Dell Debuts Vostro All-In-One PC For SMBs - InformationWeek

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7/16/2009
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Dell Debuts Vostro All-In-One PC For SMBs

Conventional wisdom holds that small and midsize businesses are so cost conscious that they won't pay a premium for the design and convenience of all-in-one computers. Dell's new Vostro All-In-One desktop computer hopes to debunk that notion with good looks, space savings, and reasonable prices.

Conventional wisdom holds that small and midsize businesses are so cost conscious that they won't pay a premium for the design and convenience of all-in-one computers. Dell's new Vostro All-In-One desktop computer hopes to debunk that notion with good looks, space savings, and reasonable prices.Alison Garnder, a senior product manager for Dell's SMB-oriented Vostro line, said that in addition to spots where space is at a premium, the new All-In-One model is intended for front-of-the-house locations where small businesses want to present customers with the right impression.

The machine is "sleek and very, very thin," Gardner said, and manages to "look nice from all angles," an important consideration in public settings. Dell claims the All-In-One reclaims up to 79% of desk space compared to a standard desktop PC -- if you use the flexible VESA mount.

gallery_1 The Dell Vostro All-In-Once PC, with the optional VESA mount.

To keep things uncluttered, speakers, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi connectivity and even the power cord, are built in. The All-In-One also offers an optional wireless mouse and keyboard, and offers optional . Ifyou ask me, that ought to be standard on a machine like this, as even the sleekest design can be ruined by unsightly tangles of wires. For that same reason, I'd also like to see Bluetooth as an optional way to avoid a spaghetti factory of USB cables.

Avoiding clutter on the screen is also important, and here I have to give credit to Vostro's laudable commitment to avoiding crapware -- trial and promotional software that clutters up the screen and lowers performance. According to Gardner, the only preloaded software on the Vostro All-In-One are the drivers needed for the hardware components you order.

Those optional components could include a 1.3 megapixel Web cam and microphone, which come with Dell's video conferencing software, for example.

Surprisingly in a machine like this, the All-In-One also includes legacy serial and parallel ports. Gardner said that many SMBs have older equipment around that they still want to use, but is that really the stuff you want to have out in front of the public where this machine is likely to find a home? More modern connections include UAB and Firewire ports and a card reader.

Gardner said that with all the built in components, set up takes about half the time for typical desktops.

The All-In-One comes in several regional versions. The U.S. versions have 19-inch screens and Intel Core 2 Duo processors. (Overseas versions, on the other hand, offer optional 17-inch and 18.5-inch screens but may pack quad-core chips. Not sure why American SMBs don't warrant the faster chips.)

Prices for the Vostro All-In-One start at $629 with 2GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a DVD writer, and the Web cam. U.S. availability is scheduled for mid August. Vista Home Basic is the current operating system, but Gardner said the unit is eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it becomes available.

The new device comes on the heels of Dell revealing this week that "Worldwide sales to large and small businesses alike are still very weak."

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