Dell PCs Push Digital Lifestyle

The PC maker expands its XPS lineup with features for video, music and digital photos.
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Continuing its push to increase consumer sales, Dell (DELL) - Get Report introduced a slew of new PCs Wednesday featuring slick designs and innovative features.

The Round Rock, Texas, company said the latest additions to its XPS line of PCs are designed to act as the hub of a digital lifestyle in which consumers use a personal computer to watch videos, manage their music collections and edit digital photos.

One of the PCs features a detachable keyboard that can interact with the PC wirelessly. Another of the new PCs has an aluminum chassis that Dell said was inspired by jet-engine designs and features integrated lighting that makes the desktop appear to glow in the dark.

All appear geared to the hands-on buying experience that Dell cited as a rationale for opening

a pair of planned 3,000-square-foot retail stores later this year.

Dell has said that the two stores are pilots and maintains that it is sticking with its longstanding direct-sales model, because the stores will not actually carry any inventory.

Consumers will now have the option to fiddle around with floor samples at the retail stores before placing an order to be delivered to their home at a later date.

But the combination of the new stores and the eye-catching PCs are the latest signs that Dell, a company that built its fortune by selling white boxes to corporations at rock-bottom prices, is viewing the consumer market as an increasingly important part of its future growth plans.

Dell, whose

revenue growth has slowed significantly in recent quarters, has indicated that it intends to get its business back on track through price cuts.

The latest consumer systems, however, seem priced to cater to a niche of consumers including gamers, a group usually willing to pay a premium for high-performance and feature-rich systems.

Though many desktops and notebooks are currently available for under $600, Dell's latest slew of PCs range from $1,300 to $3,500.

The product launch comes as Dell's competitors are redoubling their efforts to court consumers. Earlier this month,


(HPQ) - Get Report

debuted a new consumer advertising campaign with the tagline "the computer is personal again."

Dell announced its own marketing initiative to accompany Wednesday's new product launch, featuring the tagline "purely you."

The company also announced a new feature on its Web site that allows customers to order only certain aspects of its new XPS gaming desktop.

The new customization feature enables buyers to order only the chassis and motherboard from Dell, for example, allowing them to add on other components like graphics processors and memory on their own.

Shares of Dell closed the regular session up 36 cents to $25.38.