Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) wants to be cool again.
You can tell by the changes management is making. Dell has agreed to key corporate governance changes arising from a recently settled shareholder lawsuit. The PC maker will pay as much as $1.75 million in attorney's fees and expenses, and guarantee that independent directors occupy at least 60% of its board seats, among other changes, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.
Beyond the boardroom, Dell introduced the $1,999 Latitude Z business laptop, a thin eye-catcher that recharges wirelessly. And you thought only Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) made high-end laptops. Eat that, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) . You too, Lenovo.
Rather than plugging into a socket, the new Latitude rests on a special notebook stand that creates what's called an "inductive charging" field, trade magazine Computerworld reports. Inductive charging is a common tactic for household items such as electric shavers, and it was recently rolled out as an innovative feature on Palm's (Nasdaq: PALM ) Pre smartphone. Dell is apparently the first to bring this technology to the PC.
You'd almost think that someone at Dell's Round Rock headquarters would have thought to call this PC the Latitude W, because wireless is a theme throughout the system. An optional wireless docking station allows users to connect the PC to external monitors, hard drives, and other components without actually plugging into anything, Computerworld reports.
Impressive, yes? I'd say so. Yet as tempting as it may be to get excited about these changes -- and the rest of the transformation under way at Dell -- it's still early. Revenue and earnings growth remain stunted, and Dell is a laggard in the world's next big market for PCs.
A real turnaround may very well be in the works -- but I'll believe it when I see it on the income statement.
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