Dell has announced three high-end XPS PCs and a notebook that it plans to market as premium products backed with a higher level of customer service.
At a briefing in New York yesterday, Dell said that it is seeking to attract higher-spending home users starting to equip their homes with wireless networks, multiple PCs and flat-screen televisions, but who do not necessarily have the expertise needed to manage such a setup.
"What we are trying to do is appeal to customers with technological experience," Dell chairman Michael Dell said at the event.
An XPS-only customer service representative will be assigned to customers who buy over the phone, starting with their first call for help with the new PC.
Dell said that a named customer service rep will maintain contact with the customer over the life of the product.
Richard Edwards, research analyst at the Butler Group, said: "This is the first time Dell has bundled Windows Media Centre Edition so it must think that the time is right and it seems to have a good technical spec for that.
"It is clearly Dell's push for the Christmas market. But the problem is that most buyers are more likely to go for the cheaper and simpler option of an Xbox 360 or the forthcoming PlayStation.
"Dell also has the problem that its design and form factor is not as good as some competitors', and some consumers want more choice and a form factor that sits in a hi-fi rack.
"And customers will only be able to link to free-to-air digital TV and not to Sky's services, which makes the TV function a bit limited particularly if you already have Sky."
The XPS 400 is the entry-level PC that starts at $1,099. The XPS 200 costs $1149, but is available in a slimmer package that measures about 12in high and 4in wide.
The PCs ship with dual-core Intel processors, nVidia graphics cards, hard-dis k drives with up to one terabyte of data storage, and enhanced networking capabilities. All XPS PCs come with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.
The flagship desktop is the XPS 600, which starts at $1,849. It includes a single-core Pentium 4 630 processor, 1GB of Ram, a 160GB hard drive, a DVD-Rom/CD-RW drive, a 17in flat-panel LCD, and nVidia's GeForce 6800 graphics board with 256MB of memory.
Users can add a second nVidia graphics board, two more hard drives, and other high-end components.
Dell said that the XPS 600 is available now in the UK and the rest of the range will be available in two weeks. It is not yet clear whether a premium customer service will be available in the UK.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago