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'Different' Dell to downgrade XPS brand

Good news for Alienware

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Dell has confirmed its XPS brand is to be demoted to a sub-brand, used simply to mark out high-end Inspiron and Studio machines rather than as a product family in its own right.

Mark Jarvis, head of Dell's worldwide marketing, said: "You'll soon see high-end Inspiron XPS [laptops] and high-end Studio XPS machines."

Jarvis indicated Dell's Studio line will essentially replace the current array of more mainstream, less gamer-centric XPS machines, like the XPS M1330 and M1530.

Jarvis didn't say where that will leave the more gaming-oriented XPS machines, but his talk of "brand consolidation to come" suggests that they don't have a future except as top-of-the-line members of other brand families.

Which is good news for Dell's Alienware subsidiary, which makes machines that compete with the top-end XPS systems.

In May, Dell executives denied claims they were killing off XPS to make life easier for Alienware. Relegating the name to a high-end sub-brand - what Intel does with its Extreme Edition brand, for example - achieves that while effectively removing the Alienware-competing line.

There will be no new Dell brands, Jarvis said.

This brand work is part of a strategy to create what Jarvis called a "different Dell". That plan will see the PC giant roll out more machines - with new Vostros coming in a couple of weeks, he said, and the company's eagerly anticipated entry into the mini laptop market. The Vostro refresh will see the number of machines in the range "virtually double".

"In the next 12 months, we'll launch 50 per cent more notebook products that we did in the previous 12 months," Jarvis promised.

Design will be a key element, as indicated by the new Latitude E series, launched yesterday, and the upcoming quad-core Precision mobile workstation.

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