This week, the world's largest computer maker unveiled three new Pocket PC devices, the first such devices to run the most recent release of Microsoft's PDA OS. Dell's new Axim X30 Pocket PC line runs Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition (SE), but that's not the only unique thing about these machines: Two of the models offer both Wi-Fi (the 802.11 wireless standard) and Bluetooth capabilities at unheard-of lowball prices. For price-conscious Dell, these machines are a logical extension of the company's standard pricing policy, but the Axim X30's effects will likely reverberate around the PDA community for weeks to come.
The base Axim X30 starts at just $199 and features a 312MHz Intel XScale processor, 32MB of RAM, and 32MB of ROM. But for just $50 more you can get an Axim X30 model with integrated 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless capabilities, 64MB of RAM, and 64MB of ROM. The high-end Axim X30 model features a market-leading 624MHz XScale processor, plus the midrange model's wireless capabilities, and retails for $349--a far cry from the $600 to $700 most PDA makers' high-end machines cost. All Axim X30 devices include 3.5" TFT color displays, Secure Digital (SD) expansion capabilities, navigation button and scroll wheel inputs, and removable batteries with optional high-capacity replacement batteries.
Dell's pricing strategy, which is adapted from its successful run in the PC world, is a phenomenal boon to customers who are used to paying much higher prices for PDAs with comparable features. For example, palmOne doesn't offer a truly competitive product, and its $399 Tungsten T3 has integrated Bluetooth but not Wi-Fi. And HP's least-expensive device with integrated Wi-Fi/Bluetooth costs $449.
In related news, Dell will soon unveil a new line of printers, making more inroads into new markets with its PC pricing model. Dell's printers have done phenomenally well in their first year on the market, securing the company a small portion of the $160 billion worldwide printer market. But although most of Dell's sales have come from low-end inkjet printers, its upcoming printers will more directly target HP's corporate printing juggernaut, according to sources. Dell isn't providing any details about the new printers but admits that it will be some time before the company can fully round out its product line with color laser and multifunction printers. Currently, Dell partners with companies such as Eastman Kodak, Fuji Xerox, Lexmark, and SAMSUNG for its printer hardware.