CES 2007: Dell lays down green gauntlet

Michael Dell has challenged the computing industry to make the same commitment it had to the environment. In his keynote speech here at CES, the founder and chairman of Dell also launched an online backup service with a difference, as well as new gaming, home entertainment PCs and a 27" display.

Dell also hailed companies such as SlingMedia as making a difference in the home. He said the ideal of the digital home "hadn't really come off" citing poor broadband bandwidth as a key reason.

Dell introduced a new service, Dell DataSafe. It's an online backup service that also enables customers to have all files and folders transferred to a new PC when it's purchased. All data is password protected.

Dell was also joined by Bio-engineer Naiomi Helas joined Dell to talk about how PCs had helped them new non-evasive and non-toxic cancer therapy in development. This was about as worthy a case study as you can get.

On the environment, Dell outlined his company's pioneering ways, before laying down the gauntlet: "I challenge every PC vendor in the industry to join us in providing free recycling," he eulogised.

"The great philosopher Kermit the Frog said 'it's not easy being green,'" continued Dell. His company was recently voted number one in the recent Greenpeace report and is number one in the world for recycling.

Dell then spoke of a new initiative, called 'Plant a tree for me'. When buying a machine you can offset the carbon caused by its manufacture and use for $2 for a laptop and $6 for a desktop.

Dell said he hoped this would be amazingly successful - 150 million people visit Dell.com every month

.The initiative will be available globally in April. Dell also invited every other tech company to "make a difference."

Online backup

When introducing DataSafe, Dell was interrupted by Dr Evil from Austin Powers. He lent an amusing aside to what was, otherwise, a fairly staid keynote.

"CES - so many evil geniuses in one hotel," was Evil's most amusing comment. Evil posed as a new Dell customer - he had a PC "manufactured in a country which no longer exists." The scenario enabled Dell to introduce DataSafe.

You can also do it yourself or schedule an engineer to come and sort it out for you.

The keynote was preceded by an animation showing famous historical figures. The question? Man's imagination has always been limited by the tools available at the time - so what would have happened if they had a Dell PC?

Last year, Dell had focused on gearing up digital entertainment and gaming, citing the Dell XPS 700 desktop and others as examples of the achievements during 2006. Dell continued the Gearing up theme.

"We think we're in a great position to make home technology seamless for the consumer," said Dell. "Here's how you can GearUp your family room."

He introduced the Dell MediaSuite centered around a PC with 2GB of RAM and 1TB of hard drives. It's bundled with a draft 802.11n router from Linksys as well as the ability to receive digital cable.

Dell also indroduced the other part of the suite - a 27-inch display. "What it all really means is that this display is awesome."

Ceramic cooling

For gaming, Dell introduced H2 Ceramic Cooling for XPS systems to support overclocking. Dell announced the XPS 710 H2C featuring the Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor and Blu-ray drive.

Then, Alienware CEO Nelson Gonzalez joined Dell to introduce the Area 51 m9750 gaming laptop which teams Intel Core 2 processors and nVidia SLI graphics. Rob Pardo from Blizzard Entertainment - the studio behind World of Warcraft - joined Dell to talk about the new WOW expansion pack, The Burning Crusade.

Gonzalez also unveiled Alienware's second generation home Media Center slab. Called Hanger 17 PC featuring an AMD Athlon 64 X2, it's the same size as your average DVD separate.

There was also an admission:.Dell admitted the company hadn't been as good at customer service. He talked about improving on this, by "resolving issues on the first contact."

Call queues were down 38 percent. A 10 percent increase in customer satisfaction was also reported. More than 3.2million users have looked at Dell's new online support provision.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.