Computer maker Dell has announced updated versions of its Vostro family of notebooks, aimed at small to midsize businesses.
The three models, the 13.3-inch Vostro 1320, the 15.4-inch Vostro 1520 and the 17-inch Vostro 1720, are being combined with a special offer of free, preinstalled video conferencing and Webcam software with the purchase of an integrated Webcam and microphone.
Dell is betting that in a down economy, small businesses will rely on teleconferencing, instead of traveling, to conduct their operations. According to a recent study by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, 71 percent of businesses plan to spend less on travel in 2009. IDC predicts that by the close of this year, close to 35 percent of SMBs will be using some form of video conferencing.
"Through our direct relationships, we understand what small businesses care about most-staying productive everywhere, staying secure, and staying up and running without fail," said Sam Burd, Dell's small and medium business global vice president. "Customer-driven innovation is the core of our DNA. Today, SMBs need effortless video conferencing solutions and world-class data security in an affordable package, and that is what the latest Vostro laptops provide."
As Burd said, Dell is focusing strongly on security with these laptops and claims the updated Vostros now offer more security options than comparable small-business laptops from Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo. The new security options include mobility solid-state drives, fingerprint readers to secure data with multifactor authentication and an encrypted hard drive with Wave Systems software.
Dell first launched the Vostro line of PCs in 2007, which signaled a more dedicated commitment to the SMB space, on which competitors such as IBM and HP had already homed in. Lately, Dell has been vocal about its efforts to help small businesses, announcing zero percent interest and 36-month financing on its energy-efficient Latitude laptops and PowerEdge Energy Smart servers, aimed at the midmarket. The deal was an extension of a similar offer the company made on its EqualLogic storage hardware.
That promotion, which expires at the end of Dell's first fiscal quarter on May 1, allows customers to buy the equipment when the lease is up for $1. The financing promotion is available for Dell's Latitude E5500, E6400 and E6500 laptops, and PowerEdge 1950 and 2950 servers, although companies must spend at least $25,000 of Dell machines to qualify.