back to article Dell explores wearable computing as PC base crumbles

With PC sales falling and the battle over ownership of Dell still raging, the company is "exploring ideas" in the hot, hip, happening wearable computing field as a possible way forward. "There are challenges in cost, and how to make it a really good experience," Sam Burd, Dell's global VP of personal computing, told The …


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  1. Mr Spock

    'Jury still out'... since when?

    The jury came in a long while ago. And the verdict is most definitely Esther Williams.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: 'Jury still out'... since when?

      They've climbed out the loo window and are in the pub.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: 'Jury still out'... since when?

        It must be some kind of Beaten Wife Syndrome.

  2. Doug 3

    really? Nobody saw the iPad coming? Netbooks HELLO!

    Netbooks because when they were a hit they were a lower performance, portable and functional small laptop yet with long battery life and people loved them for what they could and did do. It wasn't until Microsoft purchased up the netbook vendors mindshare and sunk the platform with a bloated OS requiring more performance, more hardware, less battery life and less usefulness. So the iPad was a hit because it worked as a small portable device with good battery life and it was not trying to be a desktop computer.

    1. jmk89

      Re: really? Nobody saw the iPad coming? Netbooks HELLO!

      Wasn't it the netbook vendors who turned to Microsoft so they could load up the netbooks with adware/crapware to offset the cost and keep it sub £200?

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: really? Nobody saw the iPad coming? Netbooks HELLO!

        Whichever way it was, iPad was not susceptible to these problems.

    2. Charles Manning

      2 greatest portables I've played with...

      Netbooks etc suffer from not doing what they should at all well.

      Nearly 20 years ago (1994) there was a wonderful machine - the HP200LX. It could do real word processing etc and had a long battery life (8 or so hours IIRC). A fantastic tool for the businessperson on the move.

      13 years ago we had the Psion 7. Also a wonderful portable machine that were great for real business use.

      Given these fantastic grandparents, netbooks should have become a lot more than just "low-cost laptops".

    3. Suricou Raven

      Re: really? Nobody saw the iPad coming? Netbooks HELLO!

      It doesn't help that OEMs themselves killed the netbook - from a business perspective, the race-to-the-cheapest just isn't profitable. The margin on netbooks was terrible. Once the 'ultrabook' class came along with much higher prices and thus the possibility of a higher margin, it doesn't take a business genius to realise that every netbook sold is potentially an ultrabook not sold.

  3. revdjenk

    "Maybe in a few years ...

    "Maybe in a few years when we get to Windows 8 tablets being a third or 40 per cent of tablet volume ...

    Yeah, right ...

  4. Denarius Silver badge

    They had a good small device

    Dell Streak, still being bought 2nd hand because unlike everything else, you can see the screen in bright daylight.

    Just as it got popular, it vanished. I want one, because they are brilliant as flight management computers in very light aircraft. And netbooks generally have crap battery life IMHO.

    Now they will try to produce something too small to be of use. Sigh, as bad as HP with their slippery, heavy slab thingy. Do any designers of these things have fingers made of flesh, not high grip rubber ?

    1. JLH

      Re: They had a good small device

      I had a Dell Streak. MArvellous device - well ahead of its time.

      Sadly the screen cracked, and it is no more.

      A good replacement is the Samsung Note.

      I'm not sure how well the screne copes in bright daylight. A colleague similarly wants a device for use in gliders. Do you know what the specifics of the Streaks screen were which made it good for daylight use?

  5. Fihart

    Dell's problem is easy to guess if you visit any car boot sale/flea market. In the good old days (P2-P4 built in Ireland era) their laptop range was mechanically solid, easily dismantled and with many interchangeable parts. So, maintaining an office full of Dell laptops was probably little more trouble than a fleet of desktops.

    Presumably to compete on costs, later models are not like that -- in fact they are indistinguishable from any brand built in China, but duller looking.

    Dell brand just doesn't mean hip or edgy or disruptive. And I don't see returning to quality built mainstream machines as an option either.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      General crapification

      Good point there, and one that makes me think hard about buying a new laptop:

      1) There are mostly nasty plasticy things, except the very expensive ones.

      2) Most, and all of the very expensive ones are following Apple's bad example of no repair/service options as the things are glues together, use non-standard parts, etc.

      3) The screens are CRAP. I mean, WTF is this business where you have to pay £1000+ to get even 1080 lines resolution? I can get that from a sub-£100 monitor which is bigger than any of those laptops!

      A few years back you could get decent vertical resolution from most manufacturers, now it is uniformly crap at 768 lines except for a few at the very top, and most of them (MacBook Retina and Chromebook pixel aside) are still pretty piss-poor at 1080 lines even when you are looking at a near £2k 17" machine.

      So no - I won't be buying any of that crap. However, putting Ubuntu on a Chromebook pixel is very tempting if I could only justify the cost...

      1. Tom 35

        Re: General crapification

        "There are mostly nasty plasticy things, except the very expensive ones."

        Dell's home "Inspiron" stuff is total crap. They tend to cover all the check boxes of features to put on the box but will be in the recycle bin very soon after the warranty is over. The Vostro models tend to be better built but basic.

        But they are no worse then the junk you find on sale at the local shop, Acer, HP and the rest all pushing plasticy laptops at the low end, and if you want to spend a little more you don't get a better laptop, you get a plasticy ultrabook.

      2. Frances Banana

        Re: General crapification

        @Paul Crawford

        Ad. 1) Should it happen they throw in a bit of aluminum to hold the whole thing together - suddenly something else "suffers". I bought a 17" laptop for 800GBP ex. VAT and the keyboard is such a trashness I use it in the office connected to a USB keyboard only.

        Ad. 2) There is hope though. People notice this and get slightly pissed off and some of them in fact start taking facts like "can I replace the battery myself?" as a serious point during shopping.

        Ad. 3) I cannot understand that, either. In fact I am driving now with two extra things in my car: coffee machine + LED monitor.

        Quality is one problem - avoidance of Windows 8 is another (or Windows in general). We are a primarily open source shop - we have a bunch of win licenses, but that's a few machines and later on we don't really need "yet another sticker" collecting dust. For PCs it's easy - we assemble all ourselves - but laptops... I do hope my little old lenovo won't break any time soon (2008).

    2. Brian 39

      Indeed so. Five or more years ago was the peak for Dell and now as the consumer need has moved on but Dell have not. They are stuck 18 months to 2 years ago with self consuming junk Sino-made products.

      We have Dell desktop/laptops for staff use (4,000 employees) and many people go to meetings with BYOD gear as it simply meets the needs people have but is not organization supplied.

      Where will we all be in a few years time?

  6. Robert E A Harvey


    If those sales figures for the XPS10 are right, they could double them by putting linux on them

  7. William Higinbotham

    Remember The Homeless WIFI Hotspots?

    First Homeless WIFI Hotspots

    Now they want homeless to wear their computers as well!

    What will we call these Homeless Hotspot Geeks (HHGs)?

    1. Studley

      Re: Remember The Homeless WIFI Hotspots?


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember The Homeless WIFI Hotspots?


        Or Wino-Fi

  8. MrMcginty

    "Having a watch on your wrist – that's pretty interesting, pretty appealing."

    Available technology since 1868.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Having a watch on your wrist – that's pretty interesting, pretty appealing."

      I've already got one .. it's verra nice ..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you think the time is right to market my quad core ARM Cortex A9 cock ring with thrustomiter?

    1. Suricou Raven

      Bluetooth interface, vibration alert, make it the ring indicator for your mobile.

    2. Frankee Llonnygog

      Do you think the time is right to market my quad core ARM Cortex A9 cock ring with thrustomiter?

      Dude, you're wearing a Dell-do!

  10. Lamont Cranston

    "Having a watch on your wrist – that's pretty interesting, pretty appealing"

    As is the movement of small pieces of green paper, but it still won't make us any less miserable.

    <- Mine's the one with the towel in the pocket.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Re: "Having a watch on your wrist – that's pretty interesting, pretty appealing"

      "movement of small pieces of green paper, but it still won't make us any less miserable"

      My grandfather had something to say to the nay-sayers who said that money couldn't buy happiness.

      "Yes, but I can be miserable in comfort."

  11. Mikel

    Desperate Dell ready to try anything

    Except of course the obvious.

  12. Glenn Charles

    Well, since Dell has continually gone to lower-quality manufacturing and lack of support (including forgetting to supply their phone tech support people...with information about the equipment they're supposedly supporting)...I think anything they do is a fail. It's just sometimes Michael fails less than at other times. But remember to always forget quality Mike.

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