Netbook Innovation: Dell + Litl + Boxee
While my brain is unusually active on ideas, I rarely write them down. Back in May in my post The Dell Dilemma – I wrote about how Dell needs to innovate. At that time I had an idea to propose, I never got around to writing about it. The idea can be best expressed by the seeing what this Litl startup has done. Dell needs to innovate their PC and Notebook lineup to better compete with HP. John Gruber of Daring Fireball makes very good arguments on why PC companies need to out of the box innovation here and here – and gives example of what Litl has done.
For now, Dell is trying to mimic IBM and HP with the acquisition of Perot Systems to compete with them. I think that is, culturally, a much more difficult move for Dell, not to mention it is not their core competency.
Dell should learn from Litl or may be even acquire them and come out with dual function notebook or webbook. I would, though, enhance the Litl platform in the following ways:
1. A Dual-Mode machine = PC + Media Player
2. Install a Android-based OS (or may be even Ubuntu Karmic!) – increase the PC functionality on the current design of Litl
3. Make it a dual boot OR rather a dual-mode machine by providing a “dock” that has the HDMI connections to the TV
4. When the machine is docked, it would work as a Entertainment Netbook (the SW would switch upon docking)
5. Bundle a nice remote with the package (and of course the Dock)
5. License Boxee software and have it pre-loaded on the Book
6. When Undocked – it works like a PC with support for Google Docs or Open Office
Future editions could bundle the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook support to make it work like an e-Reader. The bottomline, though, is that Dell’s operational and supply chain expertise could bring down the cost of manufacturing and marketing and introduce a new category in the Computing Market.