updated 06:45 pm EST, Wed November 30, 2011
Dell at CES 2012 shifts away from home focus
Dell is whittling back one of its staple practices at CES in a sign of a reduced focus on the home for 2012. New leaks Wednesday hinted to AllThingsD that the company would drop its near-traditional occupation of a whole floor at The Palms off of the Las Vegas strip in favor of the hotel suite invites and meeting rooms common to companies that don't have major products to unveil at the show. If would instead attach itself to a keynote from one of its partners, implying Intel or Microsoft.
Company Consumer and Small/Medium Business president Steve Felice didn't confirm it, but accordingly hinted at a Credit Suisse conference presentation Wednesday that Dell was backing away from low-end home products to "prune" the line and might not have something to show.
A formal statement from a spokesperson largely confirmed the exit, mentioning that the company was "evaluating the most effective platforms" and that it would be meeting directly with both customers and the media. It would also be "joining a key partner" and introducing one new product.
Dell has shown more signs that it's headed in the same direction as Acer, which decided to shift away from low-end notebooks and netbooks. Although it has fared better than Acer, Dell has taken a bruising in the home PC space, seeing home PC revenue drop six percent in its latest quarter. It justified the drop as a shift away from budget PCs and towards higher-end models like the XPS 15z.
Along with being partly a victim of the iPad's effect on netbooks, Dell has so far had little success in trying to compete with Apple or with most Android designers. Its Streak tablets, the Android-based Aero and Venue smartphones, and the Windows Phone-based Venue Pro have all sold poorly. Some of the blame has been pinned on Dell's enterprise-focused culture, which tends to prefer announcing early: Aero and Streak devices were all announced several months before they shipped but without any upgrades in between, leaving them with obsolete platforms and lost momentum.