Round Rock (TX) - Dell responded to an article published earlier this week by the Wall Street Journal, claiming that the company would kill its XPS line of PCs. Dell says that the paper got it all wrong and the XPS family will not be phased out. Which got us thinking: Maybe there was just a mix-up in names: To us, it looks like Dell almost killed Alienware, not the XPS.
In retrospective, speculating that the XPS PCs are heading into retirement was probably a bit premature. Given the energy the company puts into creating new XPS models and marketing them, it would be a rather strange decision to drop the whole line. Anne Camden, PR manager for the XPS series, responded to the speculations in a blog post, writing that Dell does "not plan an early phase-out of these systems as the WSJ incorrectly stated, and in fact will continue to refresh them to keep them on the front edge of gaming."
This statement, of course, highlights the recent release of the 730-series desktop, the highest performing and most expensive (if we leave the limited edition Renegade system out of consideration) XPS desktop so far. We said it before and we will say it again: The XPS 730 H2C competes directly with Alienware computers, both in terms of price and performance. A new XPS 730 can ring in at well above $8000. You will spend a similar amount for a similar system over at Dellienware Alienware and the only feature advantage the boutique systems have at this time is a 200 MHz advantage in clock speed (4 GHz compared to 3.8 GHz in the XPS) as well as the option to purchase solid state disk drives.
We aren’t marketing gurus here, but we believe that Dell has eliminated too many differentiators between its XPS series and Alienware systems. Either the XPS has become too high-end or Alienware is not high-end enough. Our guess is that Dell will try to change the current Alienware lineup to highlight the differences between the two brands. If that is not the case, there may not be enough buying reasons for an Alienware system left and the brand will go away.
According to Camden, Alienware won’t die and Dell intends to "expand [its] focus on Alienware."
"We are going to invest like crazy in product development, design and engineering to propel Alienware as the premier gaming brand in the future. We are integrating the best gaming product development, engineering and design teams in the industry - Alienware and XPS - and this all-star lineup will be supported by a worldwide sales and marketing organization," Camden wrote.