Dell considers move into wearable tech amid PC sales slump
With poor PC and tablet sales leading to a worrying set of financial results in its most recent quarter, and with research firm IDC forecasting an 8 percent fall in global PC and laptop shipments this year, it’s little wonder tech company Dell is looking around for a way to wriggle free from its current difficulties.
Dell’s global vice-president of personal computing, Sam Burd, suggested to the Guardian this week that his company is looking into the potential of wearable tech and was currently “exploring ideas in that space”.
“There are challenges in cost, and how to make it a really good experience,” Burd said. “But the piece that’s interesting is that computers are getting smaller. Having a watch on your wrist – that’s pretty interesting, pretty appealing.”
Confirming the company’s interest in wearable tech, Burd said, “We haven’t announced anything, but we are looking at the technology in that space.”
Of course, with wearable tech apparently set to be the next big thing, it will surprise few observers that Dell, like many tech companies, is looking at its potential. But it might need to get its skates on if it wants to have a chance of succeeding in the market – we have, after all, all witnessed how difficult it’s been for companies trying to make it in the tablet market after Apple set the ball rolling with the iPad in 2010.
Indeed, Burd admitted to the Guardian that Dell has up to now sold only “hundreds of thousands” of its Windows RT XPS-10 and Windows 8 Latitude 10 tablets, though he added that he expects a significant boost from sales to corporate customers.
While Burd’s words suggest Dell is still some time away from releasing anything in the wearable-tech space, many of the industry’s big hitters appear to be close to launching devices.
We all know about Google and its high-tech, head-based eyewear. Meanwhile, Samsung has already admitted it’s prepping a smartwatch for launch – a device that Sony (and Pebble) have already brought to market.
All the signs are that Apple, too, is busy developing some wrist-based tech in the form of the so-called iWatch, with recent rumors suggesting Google and Microsoft are also working on such a device.
Dell tried and failed in the smartphone market. With the PC and laptop sales in apparent decline, and the company’s tablets having so far failed to make an impact, it’s perfectly understandable that the company is exploring other revenue stream possibilities. Whether it can come up with an attractive product in what’s set to be a fiercely competitive market is, of course, another question entirely.
By Trevor Mogg