How Dell's PDA Changes Everything

from the price-wars-galore dept

One of the worst kept secrets in the tech industry is that Dell is launching their X5 Pocket PC today. It’s not especially different from any other Pocket PC device. However, SFGate is predicting that it will shake up the industry for one big reason: it’s price. With the X5, Dell is dropping the price point on these devices by quite a bit. This will, of course, challenge current Pocket PC providers to drop their costs, or start adding more features to focus on justifying products for the high-end. It also puts pressure on Palm-based devices by suddenly making a Pocket PC a possibility to those who might only consider the cheaper Palm devices before. Generally speaking, a price war is not often a good situation for a company to put itself into – but Dell has a knack for operational efficiencies that let them still profit during a price war, while their competitors are knocked out of the market.

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Comments on “How Dell's PDA Changes Everything”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Hmmm... I might have to get one of these

I’ve got an HP Jornada that is almost 2 years old now. I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a PPC2K for some time, but just couldn’t get around the steep prices. $199 is suddenly easily affordable, and cheap enough that you could give it as a gift.
It’s just too bad that it has to be Dell that’s selling them – I hate their commercials so much that I always said I’d never buy from them. Oh well, at least they got rid of Steve.

Steve says:

Can Dell translate PC efficiencies to PocketPC

Dell is not a technology company–the might as well be making widgits. They widgets they’ve been making the last 5 years or so have been good quality and very aggressively priced because their business practices (inventory management, marketing, bulk purchasing of parts, etc) have been great. But this was all done with a very known platform–buy parts in large quantities to get a big discount and throw them together in a box and essentially let Microsoft take care of the rest.

My question: is the PocketPC platform mature enough, and are their enough suppliers of parts for this to work? Because if Dell has to start coming up with technology solutions to make their PocketPCs work, I wouldn’t bet on their success. But if they can apply their PC efficiencies, then it should work out pretty well for them.

Regardless, competition and price wars are a good thing to the consumer, and as a Palm user, it should push the Palm OS too–unless it ends up killing Palm which though it’s mostly Palm’s fault for taking so long to move forward with their OS (thanks to their purchase of Be Inc’s assets), is a bad thing. When Microsoft dominates without any other real competition, the consumer definitely loses–higher prices, less innovation, less developers, etc.

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