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  1.    #1  
    HI all,


    Take care,


    Dell's mobile future: Made to order smartphones
    By Jason Perlow | January 25, 2011, 11:19am PST

    Dell's mobile future: Made to order smartphones | ZDNet

    The mail order smartphone business didn’t work out so well for Google with its Nexus One. But that doesn’t mean the idea of carrier independence can’t succeed with an established direct sales leader.

    The mail order smartphone business didn’t work out so well for Google with its Nexus One. But that doesn’t mean the idea of carrier independence can’t succeed with an established direct sales leader.

    Today, in its quarterly investor call, in addition to discussing changes in pricing and caps on data plans to prevent network overload from the expected influx of customers from the recently announced iPhone 4, Fran Shammo, CFO of Verizon Wireless re-iterated that it would be dropping the New Every Two program, which provided additional carrier subsidies up to $100 towards a new phone for consumers that re-upped their contract every two years.

    We have discontinued the new every two for new customers. Now that does not mean that our current base is not qualified to exercise their new every two right; they are. But for new customers, there will no longer be any more new every two. So if you think about that, you can do the math, but before, you would get a $50 to $100 credit going forward on any upgrade. That disappears. The customer will be getting the promotional price at that point in time for a new phone when they qualify.

    I don’t know about you, but I think this stinks. As I have said before, the wireless customer experience in the United States continues to deteriorate and lags behind the rest of the world because of the whole subsidy-oriented and contract lock-in model.

    Eventually, I believe that competition in the 4G space will become so fierce that contracts will be replaced by a pay as you go model, but that may not happen for several years.

    Before contracts go extinct, however, the device itself needs to be de-coupled from the carrier. And the idea of subsidization in order to defer high device costs needs to go away as well.

    Google tried to separate the device from the carrier with the Nexus One, by going with a direct order model over the web. However, it failed miserably because the unlocked, unsubsidized cost was too high ($529) and you still could really only use the device on two carriers in the United States, T-Mobile or AT&T.

    Google is going to try this again but instead with the Samsung Nexus S and Best Buy as their two partners. This time, you’ll only be limited to a single carrier, T-Mobile, and you’ll need to activate and commit to a contract to take advantage of the promotional cost of $199.00. I suspect that like its predecessor, the reception to Nexus S will be lukewarm when compared to Android phones on other carriers.

    Google may have the right idea, but I don’t think they are the right company to implement a direct sales smartphone model. Who do I think can pull this off? I think it’s Dell.

    Before you call the local authorities here in New Jersey and request that I be institutionalized, let me explain.

    Right now, Dell is trying to become relevant in the smartphone and tablet space with their own offerings, such as with the Venue, a sleek high-end touchscreen Android phone, and the Venue Pro, a keyboard slider which runs on Windows 7 Phone OS. However, the company also acts as a clearinghouse and direct order vendor for other manufacturer smartphones and devices, in both unlocked and carrier activated options.

    This is nice, but Dell really isn’t distinguishing itself in the mobile marketplace today. In Android and in Windows Phone, they are largely considered to be a “Me Too” device vendor. There’s no compelling reason to buy either of the Venue devices as opposed to one of HTC’s, Motorola’s, LG or Samsung’s Android or Windows Phone devices at a carrier directly.

    Sure, they look slick, but at the end of the day, an Android is an Android and a Windows Phone is a Windows Phone, all hardware and software specs being equal.

    The bottom line is that commoditization of technology and price outweighs any other “cool factor”, unless you’re Apple and you are selling Macs, which is a niche, albeit very profitable market for the company.

    And this is exactly what happened with the PC industry. PCs stopped becoming major purchases. They’re now toasters. They got a lot cheaper. They are disposable. And when they did, Dell capitalized on this and became the leader in direct to order systems and forced all the other manufacturers to adapt to this new sales model.

    A $1500 desktop PC became… well, a $600 dollar PC for most of the consumer public. Nobody really at the end of the day gives a damn who makes them. They are all made from the same Taiwanese, Chinese, Indonesian and Korean parts.

    You expect that at the same entry level price point, a Dell, an HP and a big box retailer house brand system is going to look pretty much identical in terms of components used. Sure, you got the other Tier 2 white boxers like TigerDirect, and they do a pretty good business on razor thin margins, but those are the bottom feeders of the PC world.

    So why even go into a retail store? You punch in Dell – The Official Site | Dell on your web browser, you click your mouse a few times, make a few minor customizations to your order, and presto, a few days later you got your PC, with your CPU speed, your chosen amount of memory, your hard drive, your accessories, your warranty, delivered right to your front door via UPS.

    If you belong to a discount club like COSTCO or Sam’s, you can buy pre-configured models slightly cheaper, if you don’t really care about choosing your speeds and feeds.

    Buying a basic PC has become more or less a no-brainer process for most consumers now. However, it used to be a lot more difficult, and people spent a lot more time researching models and all sorts of stuff that is completely meaningless today.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    I like this idea; not sure it is where it needs to be, but it is a good start

    My Themes:CLICK HERE
  3. #3  
    This article felt more like a history lesson than a great way for a struggling company to differentiate. Still an interesting read though.
  4. #4  
    Say Dell had these choices for a particular model...

    • 3 RAM options
    • 3 Internal memory options
    • 3 microUSB options
    • Docking station options

    For each model, there would be a single display size, one processor, and one carrier.

    In less than 10 minutes they could "build" your phone. There are 3 x 3 x 3 = 27 different combinations.

    I buy all my laptops and desktops from Dell.

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