Dell World 2012: Smart CIOs need to think about touch today, warns Dell


CIOs need to invest in touchscreen laptops soon or risk being left behind, according to Samuel Burd, Dell's vice president of the personal computing product group.

"It's just step-function different when you add the ability to touch a system," Burd told IT Pro at the Dell World 2012 conference that is taking place in Austin, Texas, this week.

The touch revolution will pave the way for a new wave of business applications over the next two years, he claimed.

We do things that Lenovo doesn't with our systems.

"As a smart CIO I'd much rather be placing the investment that lets me jump there in the future rather than having a discussion with the CEO and the board about why the laptops I bought six months ago don't enable some cool thing that's been figured out," he warned.

Burd wouldn't be drawn on what the killer apps driving this transformation might be, but pointed out that as more people start using touch in their homes, and in tablets bought for business use, developers will start thinking about how to create great touch-based business apps.

"There's not a killer, hey I've got it marked on the calendar, here's the date it flips, there's more a sense of this is coming and cool things will be enabled. We've seen it already with tablets, so I just need to be planning ahead," he said.

Burd went on to explain why he thinks Dell has significant advantages over new, aggressive competitors such as Lenovo.

"We do things that [Lenovo] don't do with their systems, we do things around how we build our systems that are tested for the road warrior. There are things we do with the design of our products that make them a better investment return for a business."

When pressed on what those things are, Burd cited build quality as one factor. "If you take our Lattiude line of products, we put metal into our products where they put plastic into their chassis. We look at drop tests and reliability tests where our products outperform their products."

Security is another advantage he believes Dell holds over the competition. "We encrypt data across the system including to and from the USB ports, something no-one else does in the industry."

Another big advantage, Burd believes, is manageability. "There are more things I can do through my console on Dell systems that keep me from having to send someone, out to a desk side or out on the road to try and fix someone's PC."

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro, the UK's biggest selling IT monthly magazine. He specialises in reviews of laptops, desktop PCs and monitors, and is also author of a book called The Computers That Made Britain.

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