First off, thanks to everyone for your insights on this product. It's a product that lots of us have put effort into and we're happy bring it to market. Since last week, we've gotten over 150 comments from Direct2Dell readers. Much of that feedback involves pricing. The same is true for in the blogosphere. jkOntheRun's James Kendrick mentioned that our starting price was high. So did Larry Dignan from Between the Lines. Kudos to Crunchgear for the best headline on the topic.
So here's what I have to say on the issue. Probably the most important thing to note about tablet PCs is that we are talking about cutting-edge technology here. If we just released the exact same technology as our competitors, we would be missing opportunities to drive this market to the next level - and this is an opportunity we did not want to miss. The result is that our product does carry a slight premium to our competition (emphasis on the word "slight").
We believe that when you take a look at like-to-like configurations AND the incremental technology (that customers have overwhelming told us they want to have), the value equation for the Latitude XT far exceeds that of competitive systems.
We performed a price and feature compare with the Latitude XT, the HP 2710p and the Lenovo X61t. Overall, what I found was that when you adjust for non-standard features such as Dell's standard 3 year standard warranty, the overall price delta was between 8-13%. And while this amount is not trivial, the Latitude XT more that makes up for the difference with additional features customers have told us matter most to them. I have summarized some of these in the table below:
Like I mentioned before, capacitive touch is key. While both Dell and Lenovo offer touch capabilities, it's all about the technology. Dell outperforms Lenovo in customer preference testing, response times and outshines the X61t with our responsive digitizer providing a more accurate experience with fewer false touches and greater durability.
One of the advantages of bringing a product to market after the competition is tapping into how customers use and value the product. Aspects like brightness touch capabilities and weight can really make a difference in real-world environments (hospitals, classrooms, sales engagements, etc.). That's why Dell took great pains to design a system that addresses these key pain points.
You can expect future threads and videos coming out in the near future to further explain and show how the Dell Latitude XT is the new standard for tablet computing. In the meantime, we've also posted more information at www.dell.com/tablet.
Please keep the feedback coming.
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Why is there no comparison of CPU speed? HDD speed? Pressure levels?
The competition far outshines you in these categories.
Furthermore, why do you never compare the quality of Lenovo's Wacom pen to the quality of your N-Trig pen? You only compare the tocuh capabilities, which frankly are a secondar feature...the pen is what matters. Is the N-Trig pen experience inferior?
Slight? I priced out your product with a 1.2 ghz CPU, a 5,400 rpm HDD, the media base, four cell battery, draft-n wireless, Bluetooth, and Windows Vista Business. The total is $3,233.
I then priced out an x61t from Lenovo for $1,760. The Lenovo has Windows Vista Ultimate, an eight cell battery, the same wireless options (including Bluetooth) a 1.6 ghz processor, a 7,200 rpm HDD and the same amount of RAM.
That's a difference of almost $1,500. I could almost buy two Lenovos! Even if I got a better warranty on the Lenovo it would still be less!
Slight? Do you think we're stupid? Do you think just because you say something and make fancy (but meaningless/incomplete) graphs that we're just going to believe you?
This condescending blog post is the icing on the cake. Goodbye Dell. You've lost a lot of loyal customers with your handling of this product.
Oh and one more thing...
The biggest complaint people have about tablets, and the reason they haven't caught on is not their size, it's their price. Wow...your product is two tenths and inch thinner and two tenths a pound lighter. There is not a substantial difference. If you actually listened to everyone you would realize that PRICE is the issue.
Your tablet is no better or worse than the competitions. I can't believe I wasted so much time waiting for this lame system.
I've taken some time to check out the configurations and pricing of the XT vs X61t and here is what I found.
Using the current sale coupon code USPSAVEDEC I knocked another $418 of their price. I tried to get the 2 systems as close together spec wise as possible. Looks like more than 13% to me.
As James has already pointed out in response to this post, your value claims are an exaggeration ("slight"?) in the more practical terms of the real world. And as I have pointed out, it doesn't matter if you think your tablet is 'da bomb' compared to the competition - and really, if you are more objective about the XT, you realize that it does not have a huge feature-add over the competition until multi-touch is a reality and has practical applications. The simple truth is that neither people nor businesses can afford $3000+ tablets in the current economy. Individuals, especially students, who are a major target audience, don't have the money, and the businesses are not going to see the needed 33%+ additional ROI on this product over the competition. They already struggle with tablets over laptops because of support issues, which is an issue Dell is well suited to address, but does not here since this is a stand-alone, unproven product (it should be an XPS product, it fits better there than the latitude line - in all seriousness I think you'd even get less price complaints).
If you want to truly provide tighter communication with the public via direct2dell and ideastorm, I ask that you please be honest and practical with us as well. I've worked with your people and I know you aren't all as blind to consumer perspective as you sometimes pretend to be in the PR streams. Asking for discussion on a topic like the above is simply asking for unnecessary heated debate when instead we could be discussing what I imagine are the very different real reasons behind the cost of this product release and what can be done for the best future solutions. That would garner more support and faithfulness to the Dell name than anything else you could do, and provide much more constructive feedback.
I agree with the posters that this price point is too high. Regardless of the weight and multitouch, for a spec'd out unit, whose performance is subpar compared with other units, its too high.
I will NOT be recommending this unit to my faculty staff, and will steer them to other brands such as Fujitsu, and the Lenovos.
I think the comparisons you quote is spin
If you are inviting sensible comments please treat us with some respect
I think your choice not to compare HDDs and CPUs makes your comparison unsound - and as a secondary point there is no excuse for Dell not being competitive on these commodity components
I was happy to see the introduction of the XT; it's been a long time coming. The problem with it is that it seems to have been designed by a committee, who couldn't turn anything down. DLV screen? Yea, we got it. Pen in? Yea, we got it. Touch in? Yea, we go it. Keyboard? Yea, we got it. Touch pad? Yea we got it. Eraserhead? YEa we got it. Clamshell screen? Yea we got it. Works closed? Yea, we got it. The problem with a design approach that can't define itself is, first, it becomes over-priced, and second, it becomes ineffective. Notice that the graphics are second-rate, the note-taking is ineffective, the usability with a closed screen suffers.
Instead, Dell needs a real innovative tablet. One, iPhone-style screen, with the very best ink-recognition technology; first-class shotgun-type mikes and zooming lenses for audio and video recording in real seminars and real meetings. Let the mouse, keyboard and touchpad go; give it a high-powered graphics system, a physics chip for modeling and a hardware accelerator for speech recognition. Set it up for multiple screens when in the office; let the keyboard and mouse be bluetooth. Such a computer wouldn't need a complicated hinge or controls, it could be mechanically simple while retaining the underlying power that a real computer needs.
as a graphic designer I was looking forward to the release of this tablet pc, though now I realize the pressure sensibility probably ain't good enough, and the touch feature won't make up for that weakness.
but on the bright side, it'll make the iTablet look like a bargain if it ever comes out.
I think Dell is mistaken if they think the minimal differences between the XT and competitive products can command the huge premium they're asking for. I've been using tablet PCs for four years. I've been ready for my next upgrade for almost a year now and was waiting for the XT to come out before making a decision. After configuring one the Dell site and seeing the astronomical price relative to other products I gave up on it. I'd rather pay a lot less for an "almost as good" product from a player with a track record like Lenovo. The XT price would have to be $1000 lower than it is for a reasonably configured model before I'd change my mind. My guess is the product managers for the XT made some bad assumptions about the market and they're going to have a very hard time selling it.
By the way, as far as I'm concerned a future capability (like dual touch) has no value whatsoever until you can actually use it. I would never pay for the promise of a feature.
Poor explanation, Dell.
Your market research somehow missed that the reason that everyone was excited that Dell was releasing a tablet was we expected that tablet pcs would FINALLY not command a ridiculous price premium.
And other things still confuse me... why start out with a 1.06GHz Core Solo when the faster Core Duo is only $60 more???? Why are you nickel-and-diming on a $2500 product???
Boggles the mind, really. Talk about dropping the ball.
You know where you should have gone?
$700 starting price and placed in the Home and Home Office store. Get people to buy into this since you would be one of the few companies that could get a Tablet PC in the public eye, and get droves of people to buy this. Superior sales will get people working on Multi-touch applications, stat. Dell puts a smile on and the world goes on.
You know what happened?
The starting price is MUCH too high. Virtually no notebooks are sold anymore with single-core processors, yours not only does but charges 3 times as much as most people would pay. You incorporate other weak, old technology in the name of weight and battery life. Configure this nicely and you're looking at a big fat $4,000+ bill. For Pete's sake I could get a thin and light Voodoo notebook for that. Sure I wouldn't get a tablet but its a VOODOO! Which is synomymous with HORRENDOUSLY EXPENSIVE! Nicely equipped X61T's are ~$2500, and that is MUCH more than a 8-13% difference.
Try marketing this to students? Too expensive. Try marketing this to medical professionals/ people who work outside? No good - these people wear gloves in the workplace, where capacitive touchscreens are WORTHLESS. You should have stuck with a Wacom digitizer, which oh by the way has more pressure levels and better software support, and a resistive touch screen. Nobody is going to try to write with their index finger! Touch capabilities are primarily for exiting screens, clicking links, dragging scroll bars, etc. which do not require the kind of accuracy that a capacitive touchscreen offers.That's what the pen is for! Plus, who cares about multi-touch? There are ZERO applications available that have any merit that take advantage of multi-touch, and nobody is going to develop for a platform that nobody owns! Its going to be even WORSE than trying to get game developers to develop for the Ageia PhysX card!
Good bye, Dell. This summer, I'm getting an Apple Tablet if that comes in at either MacWorld or WWDC - and if it doesn't, I'll be getting a Lenovo tablet. Who knows? The X70t may come out, which could *gasp* include a Penryn processor and high-resolution displays with touch/multi-touch! Maybe it could even have a super-light power adapter too!
Frankly, I am dumbfounded and appalled by Dell's late late late first entry into the TPC game. I'm dumbfounded by the wacky specs (1GHz Core Solo base CPU? 1.8" HDDs? A 1GB SODIMM trapped inside forever preventing dual channel with 4GB set up? Really? Really really?), and appalled by the price and arrogance.
And don't tell me that the capacitive touch makes up for the difference. It's cute how you are encouraged to rub your fingerprints all over the thing like you were finger painting back in kindergarden, but when kids go to bed and adults go to work, they use their active digitizer pens. And with the pen, the N-Trig is no better than the Wacom in specs and far worse in software support.
Maybe if this was 5 years later and it's Dell's 4th gen device and Windows 7 has multi-touch features coming out of it's yin yang, fine, you may have something. But this is 2007 and it's Dell's very first TPC. Have some freakin' humility and price this thing like a sane corporation, will ya?
I think that most everyone agrees that it is a good system, a very good system, just not good enough given the price.
As a side note, this doesn't look properly set up for a left hander, I could be wrong on this given that I have not used it, none the less it's something to think about.
I've been a loyal buyer of Dell laptops for years -- I'm currently on my third one, if I'm correct, a five-year old Latitude C400 that needs replacing. I had been planning to buy a D410 when I heard that Dell was coming out with a tablet PC in 2007, so I decided to wait for that.
But $2,500 is just exhorbitant. I don't doubt that the machine is well built and innovative, but it seems that the x61 offers comparable, "almost as good" specs for about $1,500. That's not a "slight" premium you're charging -- it's a premium of 67%! Which is just out of the price range of all most the most affluent consumers
I've invested so much time and energy into learning about tablet PCs that at this point, I'm inclined to go for the x61, rather than the conventional Latitude D420/430 notebook.
First time tablet buyer, will be using outside & in the car, - so now that I'm not getting the Dell - can I get some feedback as to which would likely be the best quality/price option? (assume similarly configured):
I think I want the "convertible" type - not the Motion LE1600 type, because my work does require a fair amount of manual text input...
Everybody seems to like the Lenovo, but I hate those little joystick pointers compared to a touchpad...but in the tablet style, does it matter that much?
I was totally ready to order the XT, until I found out the price...
Your advice is appreciated. Thanks.
Dell just aren't paying attention. When people are looking at this tablet they aren't just comparing the touch technologies. They're as you'd expect looking at the entire spec. And we're not impressed.
Capacative touch might very well be fantastice. But resistive touch is good enough for todays market. Dell are asking us to pay a premium for a feature that has no other support from any other software.
As Apple found out a long while ago, hardware with no software support is useless hardware. Show me an application that genuinely benefits from capacitive touch technology.
I have to agree with the sentiments above. I priced a system with the 1.2ghz processor, 120gb HDD, battery slice, accidental damage service and a few small upgrades. It totaled $3363. A "comparable" x61t system (with better specs where it really counts) is $2412; $951 less. That's a lot more than 13% according to my calculator.
I am a business professional in a large organization trying to eliminate the paper, and I'm one of the few
who could afford to spend this if it were worth it. I work with text documents, spreadsheets, and my handwritten (with a pen) notes all day long. Capacitive touch is not relevant to me. How can I justify spending almost $1000 more for a touchpad and a reduction in weight equal to about half a roll of quarters? The real question is can I stand to play the waiting game all over again for the Apple?
Perhaps Dell's marketing campaign for the XT is just getting under way, but I'm noting that you're not demonstrating [on your website] to us potential buyers WHY the XT is worth a substantial premium over the competition. This issue will be addressed, of course in independent reviews as time goes on, but I'm struck with the thought as I look at your website that you're not making the case for the product very well IMHO.
Like others who have posted here, I can't grasp why Dell thinks we would see the "value".
I'm sure a lot of effort from a lot of folks went into bringing this thing to market, and I sincerely hope Dell sticks with offering Tablet(s). The long time between Dells acknowledging that the XT was coming and actual projected delivery has raised questions in my mind about development problems/manufacturing issues that also make me hesitate to buy the product (in addition to price/value).