For gamers around the world, the brand Alienware has always been synonymous with eccentric designs coupled with impressive performance. The new lineup of laptops and desktops hit GITEX this month, and I had a chance to sit down with Pearce Clune, Director of Marketing, Merchandising & Programs – Retail & Distribution at Dell, to find out just what the company has planned for the region.
Tell us more about the new line up of Alienware Laptops at GITEX.
This is an exciting new line up of ‘Epic ID’. It’s been in development since 2010 which shows how seriously we take the industrial design of Alienware. We’ve looked at the military style and stealth bomber styles which are pretty much the inspiration behind them. It’s much more angular than the previous, more matte based rather than glass based finish. If you look at our 14inch and 18inch notebooks, they are the most powerful notebooks in the world. These come with factory overclocked CPUs, up to 4.3GHz on the 18inch and 4.0GHz on the 14inch. With that kind of performance, it is almost indestructible where you can force them to their absolute limits in performance. We also have magnesium based and anodised aluminium lids on them which make them incredibly durable as well as increased the number of metal components which are actually metal inside.
How are Intel’s latest processors helping you to push the envelope for gamers on your laptops and desktops?
When we had the new 4th Gen technology, which we have in our 14inch and 17inch as well as in our desktops, there’s much more power consumption on this so we can actually drive better performance with less power, and we can conserve that power to further drive the performance higher and higher. We get better graphics performance with 4th Gen over 3rd Gen as well. In the end, you are looking at about 25-30% increase of your graphics performance, and now for the first time ever, as a standard, we have dual graphics card up to 100Watt each on our 18inch.
How are you able to keep the Alienware brand at the front of gamers’ minds?
First of all, there’s a community of enthusiasts of over three million users in our Alienware Arena and Alienware Facebook. Secondly, when we talk about keeping it relevant, with this ID, we’ve now actually tried to move from keeping the enthusiasts happy but also to view a broader consumer which is very focused on powerful machines which has a lot of graphics capability, a lot of memory, a lot of performance capabilities which opens the door to the likes of designers, people who use high end graphics programs, etc. Even governments who need to use it for their security solutions as well.
And the last thing that is also interesting is the ‘Command Centre’ which is the integral part of what we do in Alienware. Not only did we have the lighting which is customizable along with Power Management, we also have the Alien Adrenaline which means then we have different kinds of approaches: You can actually shut down all of your temporary processes at the back which will give you an extra turbo boost as well as a lot of other functionality within the Command Centre which makes it more relevant to every kind of user.
While on the subject, for this region, how are you trying to make people more aware of the Alienware brand?
There’s a number of strategies that we have right through from the PR, the social media, through events, sponsorship. One of the areas that we are quite focused on is on a retail strategy, for example, we have in-store ‘Experience zones’ for Alienware and we really want to encourage consumers to come in and to actually play and to feel that immersive experience of Alienware and feel the power in it, to feel the difference in playing a game on an ordinary PC and on an Alienware. In Gitex, for example, we have our own Experience zone which has proven to be the most popular of all the stands.
When gamers come to Alienware do they immediately deviate towards a PC or a do they look at the line up for laptops?
We are very focused on the different segments of the market. We have the Alienware 14inch notebook which is really about uncompromising power and its light enough to be able to carry it around and has seven hours battery life. Then you’ve got the 17inch which is more of a midway between a desktop replacement and mobility where it’s less than three kilos. It’s still mobile but with a bigger screen, it’s got wide angle viewing and then again it with high performance. Then you have the 18inch notebook which is a desktop replacement. And that is effectively a desktop performance in a notebook. Also what we have is the Alienware X51 which is a small form factor desktop which is a lot more affordable and its more for in-bedroom gaming with plug and play hard drives. These are focused towards the student where, literally, he takes his Alienware to college or put it in his dorm and uses it not only for gaming but actually use it for multi-purpose productivity.
You have got some gaming companies attempting gaming tablets or hand-held devices. Do you think Alienware will ever approach that point?
Tablets as we know are a category that is exploding. The application stores are exploding as well. There are a lot of people moving into the tablet space. I believe, from an Alienware perspective, it’s a slightly different segment. I’m not sure that you’ll be able to get that mobility from a tablet and still get the same experience on a small screen which would actually fit well with the Alienware brand. Even though, I cannot talk about the future.
Lastly what’s the buzz been around Alienware at Gitex?
Yeah, they’ve been loving it. On having the different Alienware Zones such as the football, the military games, the racing, etc, there is a little something there for everyone to come in and really get an opportunity to really come and spend an hour playing in a very immersive experiential zone, where not everyone does all the time. So for us, the big buzz is around the big ID, the performance, the technology, the developments where things are getting better, the battery life being improved, the performances are improving, the over-clock ability to crazy levels and then have the ability to come in and sit down in a very ‘chill-out’ zone. For the second year in a row, the clear feedback I’m getting is that the Alienware is one of the attractions of Gitex.