With Dell’s PC ambitions generally lacking in favor of the profitable enterprise market, it might be a surprise that they’re also experimenting with reaching some niche markets. In this case, the niche market is web and mobile developers and Dell is doing so by launching Project Sputnik.
Sputnik is a six-month pilot project that is focused on delivering a device (and later a series of devices, predicated on the success of the initial rollout) that meets a typical developer’s needs and desires. One way they’ll be doing that is by making the first device available the XPS 13, the latest in their line of svelte ultrabooks that can deliver both performance and form factor in a single bundle.
More importantly, Dell will pre-install Ubuntu on these laptops along with tools for developing in Ruby, Android, and Java. It’s also worth noting that they’re working closely with Ubuntu project leader Canonical to deliver perfect driver support for their hardware. Project Sputnik aspires to clear the board of all bloatware and rather include the software that devs actually want, which leads to the last element of the project – feedback.
Dell is already soliciting feedback on how they can better serve the needs of developers through this project via their Idea Storm website. Already people are commenting on what hardware specs they prefer or what Sputnik devices will initially be made available to “key influencers”, but will expand to a wider audience if feedback and growth is positive.