2011 has been dubbed the year of the tablet, but business desktops have not gone the way of the dodo just yet.
Dell on Thursday previewed the Vostro 460, the latest addition to its line of PCs designed for the small and midsize business (SMB) market. The model will become available on Tuesday. Pricing starts at $599. The Vostro 460 joins updated business lineups recently announced by HP and Lenovo, including several desktop and laptop options specifically tailored to SMBs.
"We keep hearing the death knell of the desktop and it really hasn't proven out," said Chris Camilletti, senior marketing manager for consumer and small business desktops at Dell. "I think what we're seeing is that there is still a requirement to have a powerful system as a hub" with the mobile environment in orbit around it.
The 460 will run on Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors -- released this week -- and the H67 chipset. In a draft of a blog post that Dell will publish next week formally announcing the 460, the manufacturer wrote: "The Vostro 460 is also the first SMB desktop PC offering the new Intel Sandy Bridge Quad Core processors."
Among the specs, the 460's hard drive is expandable up to 3TB. In addition to usual array of standard USB 2.0 ports, the Vostro 460 has optional USB 3.0 capability. Legacy PS/2 ports are available but now optional. Native HDMI has been added.
At Dell, consumer and small business product development is handled by the same team, and Camilletti said there is an increasingly blurry line between the two in terms of feature sets, noting that technologies such as HDMI that were driven by the consumer side are making their way into the SMB lineup. He also said that direct feedback from smaller business customers drove the increased expandability, addition of USB 3.0, and better graphics options, as well as the fast time to market with the new Intel processors.
"We made it a priority to be out there with Intel as fast as we could," said Camilletti.
Though the Vostro 460 is not an all-in-one model, Camilletti said smaller form factors and all-in-ones will likely drive future product development in the desktop industry, as component performance continues to improve and thermal limitations shrink.
"You're starting to see [all-in-one] emerge more and more, and for SMB I really see that kind of emerging as a play," he said. "A lot of SMBs may not need the expandability, they may never open their chassis, and the all-in-one is a nice complement to that environment."