updated 11:00 pm EST, Sun November 9, 2008
Dell MP3 Player Scuttled
Dell's plans to relaunch into MP3 players have been shelved in what may be a permanent cancellation, according to claims made by the Wall Street Journal late Sunday [subscription required]. Alleged sources say that at least one miniature player scheduled to launch alongside a media jukebox and sharing suite from Zing has been delayed past its original fall target while the software alone goes ahead. The unnamed device is currently postponed "indefinitely" and so may not be released at all, the reported insiders note.
The exact reason behind the sudden backing off from a portable player is unknown, though the tip points to the need to finalize the system as creating problems for any potential release. Separately, Dell also faces a weak economy and would be hindered by launching a media playback device well after iPods and Zunes have been updated.
News of the downscaled effort arrives at the same time as the company has been criticized by analysts and others for an absence of notebook updates during the fall. Where Apple launched a comprehensive update of its MacBooks and similar rivals like HP and Toshiba have revised some or all of their home systems in the late summer and early fall, Dell has largely left its Inspiron, Studio and XPS systems alone short of minor part upgrades. Finalizing the specifications is said to have contributed to the delay but nonetheless may damage the Texas PC builder's performance as it has to compete using older designs and most likely through price cuts. To date, Dell's only truly new fall 2008 systems have been the Inspiron Mini 9 and the larger Mini 12.
The company has declined to comment on the MP3 player but explains that it should have a "half-dozen" desktops and notebooks before the end of the year. Company founder Michael Dell also promises "sexy" new products but says that some may slip into 2009.