updated 03:00 pm EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Dell hopes XPS 13 picked first based on design
Dell is trying an unusual strategy to try and steer ultrabook buyers towards the XPS 13 on Thursday. Nicknamed the Ultrabook Challenge, the demo campaign Thursday amounts to a blind taste test for the thin-and-light notebooks. Starting in San Francisco first, those at the corner of Chestnut and Scott, and later at Fisherman's Wharf, are being asked to pick an ultrabook based on "look and feel" with all the branding covered up, ostensibly to avoid bias.
The company explained to Electronista that it would have systems from at least HP, Toshiba, and others. Apple, whose MacBook Air defines the category, would also be one of those in the lineup.
The campaign is expected to reach New York City "in the coming weeks," a spokesman added, although it's not apparent if it will go to other locations.
Dell's push is an attempt to rise above what's considered an increasingly cluttered space. Much as tablets were the centerpiece of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, the 2012 show was defined by many major PC builders having at least one new ultrabook to answer the Air. The necessity of having a device under a certain thickness but with full speed has led to a relatively narrow price range and feature set that has made it difficult for the Windows builders to compete with each other while Apple's system, with a unique OS and a head start, has been relatively safe.