Dell's Adamo: Very fashionable, but will the fashion-impaired base (like me) buy it?

Dell's Adamo: Very fashionable, but will the fashion-impaired base (like me) buy it?

Summary: Dell on Tuesday launched its Adamo effort, a thin laptop that is all about design and puts the PC maker in a new realm on the perception front. It's unclear whether people---especially Dell's fashion-impaired base--- will actually buy it.

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Dell on Tuesday launched its Adamo effort, a thin laptop that is all about design and puts the PC maker in a new realm on the perception front. It's unclear whether people---especially Dell's fashion-impaired base--- will actually buy it.  

Adamo means to "covet" or "fall in love with" and that's fine. However, that love comes at a price: $1,999 to be exact for starters and $2,699 for a higher end model (there are "optional luxury packages"). Simply put, Adamo arrives as netbooks are the fastest growing portion of the PC market---because they are cheap.

Gallery: Hands-on with the Dell Adamo

Dell's Adamo has some nice design features: unibody construction, its thin, etched aluminum, 13.4-inch glass wide screen display (see Dell blog, statementTechmeme). Adamo has been compared to the MacBook Air and the pitch on Dell's site features this fashion model type of approach. The problem: I already feel left out because I'm kind of unfashionable and won't be confused with a GQ subscriber---or former member of the Men's Vogue club heaven forbid. 

Check Dell's Adamo site out. Holy Vogue Batman (for what it's worth even legendary Vogue chief Anna Wintour is railing against consumerism these days):

Adamo's site is broken up into parts: Encounter, Discover, Admire and Commit. It'a all kind of breathless. And it's all so 2006 and 2007, maybe first half of 2008 before everything unraveled. The irony: Dell's fashion statement comes as high end retailers like Nordstrom are pitching value. Something is amiss here. Are we in the mood for laptop luxury packages?

Don't get me wrong, Adamo looks swell. I'm just not so sure that the design first approach will work right now. Value matters. Value for performance really matters. In fact, the messaging Dell has had forever may be what matters most today. 

Instead, we get a fashion show. 

And maybe fashion sells. Rafe Needleman says:

The Adamo is clean. Unlike almost every other Windows laptop you can buy, it has no "Designed for Windows" or "Intel Inside" stickers glued to the palm rest. Turn it over, and instead of a jigsaw puzzle of FCC approval stickers, serial number tags, and Microsoft certifications, there's a metal builder's plate with Dell, Intel, and Microsoft logos subtly printed on it. There's even a special magnetic cover hiding a required licensing sticker.

Oooh. Ahhhh. But let's give credit where it's due. Dell is good at design now and Adamo proves it. Dell can actually be stylish. The problem is that you need a customer base that covets that approach and I'm not sure Dell has it. Apple's strength is that it has a few million customers that will buy anything it puts out---because it's either a fashion statement or the brand says something about them. 

The turn Dell is trying to make is a tough one right now. That said Adamo looks interesting, but probably too fashionable for the price.

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55 comments
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  • Why? Dell is Junk

    So for my $2k I could buy a superior Apple Macbook Pro with a bigger screen, more style, and a better reputation or I could buy a POS Dell that screams me too in every respect?

    I'll take the Mac please.
    itguy08
    • Superior?

      Apple has had their fair share of issues from overheating problems, battery recalls. Did't your "superior" MacBook pro just make the news with a big heat issue? Oh I guess you will blame that on NVidia though since it had to deal with the the GPU. Apple makes good products and so does Dell. In my experience between the 3000+ Dell Desktops, Laptops, and Servers and the 150+ Mac Based systems in my environment along with past years experience I see no evidence that Apple makes superior products. What I have seen is that when a Mac breaks it costs way more to fix it. Out of warranty of course.

      As far as style goes, I choose functionality over style and the fact remains there is nothing more you can do on a Mac that you can do on a WindowsPC. I have both and I will take Windows any day.
      bobiroc
      • No issues here

        [b]MacBook pro just make the news with a big heat issue? Oh I guess you will blame that on NVidia though since it had to deal with the the GPU[/b]

        No issues with the Unibody's graphics here. Just a reliable computer. The older ones did, and that was an Nvidia issue - affected everyone who used those chips.
        itguy08
        • Good I am Glad

          Because My last Two Laptops (Both Dell) that I got through work have also had no issues. I had the first one 5 years and my latest one is going on 2 years. My Desktops at home are custom built. But my point is the naive belief that apple is superior is just the weak minded individuals falling for the hype. The same people fall for the hype and lies that Vista was filled with issues. I will never stop anyone from buying a Mac but I reserve the right to say I told you so when they come to me because they want an application that is not Mac Compatible and now have to spend $100+ for a copy of Windows. Or the people that buy a Mac because they thought Macs were "virus" free and then installed windows with no protection and were shocked when they got infected.
          bobiroc
          • Problem is.....

            That in America hype is all that matters. People seem to cultinize around things that sound good to their ear or look good to the eye. No facts can get in the way of hype, its just not how things are done these days. I think it is the lack of people's ambition to find the truth or what works good.

            Its funny how I only hear from tech's about issues with an Apple. I know they have issues as I have dealt with them myself, but for many Apple owners they are very reluctant to tell the truth and this is part of the idea that Apple's are flawless, but to those that want the truth we seek it and find it, but its not easy when you are dealing with a cult like mentality that looks down on you for not buying the product the cult thinks you should have. And boy do they use some washed up ad lines that are far from true and well most that don't know just soak it up as fact. Trust me I have friends that think they know why an Apple is better and they have zero tech knowledge, absolute zero knowledge and they try to tell me why, the tech guy that knows this industry and the truth in it. I think Apple makes good products, but lets be real and be open about things and let others decide for themselves. Its too much these days as everyone is trying to force a conviction or product on you without being completely honest with you. I really chalk it up to a lack of education and thirst for true knowledge.
            OhTheHumanity
          • Been supporting desktops PC and Mac (Plus before

            standardization on MS other environments for decades now) and I
            think Apple is better.... not perfect mind you but better. Do Mac's
            have issues sure what man made product does not? Is OSX perfect...
            no what man made product is. I just think they are better products,
            more thought out from design to completion and all just pieces made
            ot work in a great whole than others do and or can. Why? Well Dell
            and other OEM's don't control their OS for one reason. It's hard to
            create a hand n glove product when one hand does not know or
            control what the other is doing. Sure Apple has had problems and will
            continue too have them especially as they grow for that in and of itself
            causes problems. On the other hand it seems these past few years
            Dell has had its issues and I can tell you after supporting/repairing
            Dells as well as dozens of other PC brands they always have had
            issues.

            As a user, supporter and repairer of these products I choose Apple as
            a rule. If someone makes a better product I will choose it as well. For
            instance I do own an XBox 360 (my second) my first had the red ring
            of death and I gave it too someone to send to MS for it's extended
            warranty repair and I bought another one.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Me too

            I have been working with Apples since the Apple II and MS OS since Dos 2.x and I think Windows is better. I guess that is the wonderful thing about having choice. I started out in college doing Graphic Design using a Mac back with OS 6 or 7 and the 603e processors. I found I could do everything on my Windows PC at home just the same using the same or similar software. Not to mention I have been trying to integrate the Macs we have in our environment to our Active Directory and Apple gave me a 400 page document on how to do it. Tech support from Apple was useless and the three organizations that I called that did that with their macs said they had to pay Apple $6000 to do it for them in just labor costs. You can say that I lack the knowledge but in my 20+ years in IT (personal and professional) Windows has not done me wrong.

            Sorry for going a bit off subject.
            bobiroc
          • No problem about going off subject...I do that often

            Now I don't do graphic work but we have a lot of so called "experts"
            here where I work. We have them use both PC's and Mac's the
            company itself would LOVE to standardize on PC's if they could but
            our graphics people keep adding Macs and pushing out PC's. They
            (even those who trained on PC's) love the Macs and well not so much
            for the PC's. I can't tell you the details of the meetings they have with
            managers to prove that the Mac is better for productivity but when the
            managers come out after seeing a Mac and a PC being used I can tell
            you we get a huge order for new Macs and a few PC's too keep what
            we do use for PC's current in the whole power level thing. Now we do
            use PC's by and large in our company like 400 PC's and around 180
            OSX Macs and 80 OS9 Macs. Still PC's are the majority and I don't see
            that changing. Not sure about the Active Directory issues you are
            having there I can't say it's a problem here but does that not assume
            that you are letting MS call the shots? I have my doubts as to why you
            would assume it's Apple's responsibility to march too MS's tune?
            Perhaps MS should help you out there...:P Since Apple and MS often
            work together MS Office for OSX and such I think they have all the
            information that thye need and the fact that the basic structure of OSX
            is Unix I would think that MS would and or should be able to work
            well with such a standard as Unix don't you? If not that would seem
            to be the fault of MS. After all I find myself wondering why MS does
            not make a greater effort to use/tap into standards unless they are
            trying to be the standard themselves and to blank with everyone else
            which again would seem to be an attitude that is the basis for many a
            problem on MS part here.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Thats great.....

            I am glad you like the Mac so much better. I know why to, its more productive than a windows box. Thats great, I don't know how, but thats great. I know when I ask my Vista machine to do something it does it and I feel perfectly productive over here. Thats great.

            So on to interoperability. I have no problem adding a Linux to our AD environment. If you didn't know, AD is using a standard called LDAP. Most systems are capable of using LDAP and its quite easy to add it to the directory. Takes about 2 minutes on average for a Linux box. Now if you say that this guy should go talk to MS about adding an Apple to his AD environment I would say you are wrong. It should be just as easy to add an Apple as it would be a Linux box. a 400 page document sounds crazy to me and I still am trying to understand why it would be that long and drawn out. Of coarse I don't know what his environment looks like so there may be a valid reason.

            All I know is that I manage many Windows and some Linux systems by myself and its a pretty nice job to have in my view. Sure our systems aren't wide open for joe shmoe to do whatever he wants, but I know that my systems will be up and running unless I have hardware issues and that is a nice feeling to have. I think my company would fire me if I said we need something else, because their first question to me would be "what is the matter with our current systems?" and I would not have anything to back up a big re-tooling besides lie's and misinformation. I say use what works for you and we are very happy with what we are using and it is far from holding back our profits or being a drain on the company. Heck I still have 8 year old systems in our warehouse that won't give up. I pray for a hardware failure, but they keep chugging along. I deal with issues on occassion, but mostly minor ones at best. Maybe its just my good fortune.
            OhTheHumanity
          • Mac and AD/LDAP

            It is a long story but I can get the Macs to work with LDAP and show up in my directory services but I was talking about a bit more advanced stuff like mapping network drives upon login, maybe even distributing some sort of access policies to the Mac like we do (so easily) with Windows. Long story short I was told to follow this 400 page document and we needed a Mac Server. Well hours and hours on support going through it step by step I have had no luck. There is more to the story but it is way off topic and too long to tell here.
            bobiroc
          • Re Daman25

            I don't think I made the claim that all people are more productive on a
            Mac. I am that is for certain. Our graphics people seem to feel rather
            strongly even those trained originally on PC's that they are. However
            does that mean all graphics people I think not.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
      • Pay attention...

        He wasn't even calling it superior to Windows PC ya' dink. He was calling it superior to the Adamo and it's form factor luxury tax.

        As far as whether it has overheating issues and the like... we don't really know that yet, it's just out.
        Metronome49
    • This is not a MAC vs PC thing.....

      Stop drinking the cool aid. For those of us that appreciate a good esthetic we will probably appreciate efforts made to this end. There is nothing wrong with a beautiful device that functions well. Bring it on.

      Mac folks can you please stay on topic you are getting really old already.
      sbass@...
      • On ZDNet...everything is a Mac vs. PC thing

        Seriously, it's hard not to bring up Macbooks though... when so much is said about how they cost more just because more time was taken into the design.

        Clearly, Dell has taken this into consideration and made a luxury, designer, laptop with a design tax.

        I would imagine the wireheads in this community could care less about how it looks and wouldn't dare pay 2k for this kit when with 2k they could get much more FUNCTIONAL hardware that's ugly. If they would, then a lot of their PC over Mac argument goes out the window, and it's just religion.

        Personally, it looks nice.
        Metronome49
  • RE: Dell's Adamo: Very fashionable, but will the fashion-impaired base (like me) buy it?

    Yeah, I agree ... and it's a tougher turn because ultimately it's a Dell system (Dude, it's a Dell!). Dell devalued the pC to the point where margins became razor thin (good for consumers ...) and it's been trying to lever its way into higher-end markets ever since. I think the company should have spun off the XPS line as it would be easier to rebrand.

    There's certainly a market for $2,000 notebooks, problem is right now most of it belongs to Apple. Dell vs. Apple in the style game ... no contest.

    Yeah, it's a tough turn alright!
    Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • You should watch the commercials. *shudder* [nt]

      [nt]
      olePigeon
  • The problem is...

    ...that while it may be perceived as high fashion, it does not
    have the real stuff.

    It is still filled with Vista which everyone recognizes as a dog
    OS.

    You can put cosmetics on the outside (and for that, Dell should
    be praised) but what is under the hood is still, klunky, kludgey,
    clumsy Vista. Nothing will change that.

    When the Wow! of its external appearance is old, its OS will be
    older.
    Jeremy W
    • Wow. I knew you were going to say that.

      You have become so predictable, anymore.

      Please, let us hear more of those fantastic yarns you have spun in the past about all your unbelievable problems and the such that [i]allways[/i] plauged you in the past with Windows.

      We do need a good laugh these days.
      GuidingLight
  • Some will buy it

    There is always a market for this stuff. The vain, the pretty people wannabes, the people who buy things because they are expensive (why would anyone pay $800 for a pair of shoes?). I would much rather see Dell work on an expandable, small form factor Core i7 desktop with high end graphics, 6+GB of DDR3 memory, a quality power supply and fast HDD(s).
    jpr75_z
  • Pig, lipstick, etc., etc.

    NT
    Userama