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Dell Introduces New Small-Business PCs

Dell Inc. is launching a new line of notebook and desktop personal computers called "Vostro" that are aimed at small businesses with 25 or fewer employees.

"Vostro" PCs will come with a suite of subscription-based services and a dedicated tech support staff, said Frank Muehleman, senior vice president of Dell's small and medium business group.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell planned to debut the new machines at a "town hall" meeting Tuesday in New York.

Vostro, a Latin word meaning "yours," joins Dell's existing product lines, which include Inspiron for consumers, the Latitude and Optiplex for large companies, and the XPS for gamers.

Vostro systems will be available with Windows Vista or XP operating systems, but won't come with any so-called "trialware," or sample versions of software that expire after a few weeks or months, Muehleman said.

Muehleman also said Dell had assembled a staff of about 6,500 Dell employees to handle tech support for Vostro customers.

The systems include three notebooks with screens ranging from 14 to 17 inches and starting prices from $449 to $799. A desktop version will be available starting at $319. Exact specifications weren't available.

Vostro will also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and services that Muehleman said would make it easier for small businesses to focus on productivity instead of technical computer issues.

They include a network assistant for finding a wireless hotspot or a shared printer, an automated PC tuneup feature for defragmenting the hard disk and other maintenance tasks, and an online backup system.

Both the tuneup and backup system are free for the first year but will require a subscription thereafter.

The Vostro line comes a few weeks after Dell, based in Round Rock, launched a new line of Inspiron models that come in a rainbow of colors.

For now, Vostros will come in black and silver only, Muehleman said.

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