Dell rolls out SMB notebooks dubbed Vostro sans 'Trialware'

Updated below: Dell has rolled out notebooks and desktops designed to reach small businesses. The brand name: Vostro.

Updated below: Dell has rolled out notebooks and desktops designed to reach small businesses. The brand name: Vostro. The pitch: Vostro PCs are "trialware" free (some of us would say crapware) and have tailored services attached.

The line appears to be rolled out at an event in Times Square later today. Michael Dell will be fielding questions from customers and reporters. I plan on attending. There is also a Webcast Dell announced.

How do I know all about Dell's plans when the company is so mum about its upcoming announcement? Well, there is the scheduled event targeted toward small businesses. And Dell has put some tech press under embargo on an announcement--I was offered one but couldn't make the timing work and it didn't seem like a must-have for me anyway.

So knowing all of this in advance--and how reporters are all under embargo until about noon--I found it comical that Dell spilled the beans in two print ads in the Wall Street Journal. Page A11 to be specific. Dell also mentioned Vostro in another ad noting that it is also sponsoring the freebie. And given the Journal didn't have the story perhaps the reporters are under embargo too. Dell's bet seems to be that the tech press doesn't read the print Journal (woops).

Update: Dell spills more beans in a New York Times ad (a full spread on C6 and C7). Dell claims "Dell Vostro is a new idea. A suite of systems and services designed just for small business. With Vostro , you get more than off-the-shelf PCs.)

Here are other details found in the ads:

  • Vostro notebooks start at $599 $499 with desktops at $319.
  • These Vostro systems have "no trialware" and "come only with the software you specify." Just as an aside I applaud Dell for this anti-crapware move. Ed Bott has more. George Ou walks you through getting rid of crapware.
  • Dell is offering services tailored for small businesses, "including a 1 year PCTuneup designed to help keep your system running efficiently." Dell also notes that "technicians trained specifically in small business are available to assist 24x7x365.
  • Dell includes a 30-day money back guarantee.

Dell also sends folks to where the Vostro is mentioned again.

Update 2: Frank Muehleman, vice president and general manager of Dell's small and medium business division, said that trialware had been on home/small business PCs, but not corporate ones. Dell decided to create a crapware-free brand based on customer surveys. I asked whether the Vostro brand would influence Dell's moves on the consumer side and Muehleman sounded doubtful. "Some customers want trialware," said Muehleman. That answer should take care of this talkback question a bit.

Other points:

  • Dell's PC tune service has the potential to be a standard offering.
  • Vostro targets companies with 1-25 employees.
  • Vostro doesn't come with the Ubuntu option yet, but Muehleman said he's considering it.
  • Dell's Vostro line includes printers and projectors also.
  • Other services include network assistant to set up wireless and wired networks.
  • An application for centralized support with Dell. This application comes with real-time health scans and upgrades.


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