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January 9, 2007

CES: Dell keynote with Dr. Evil

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 11:17 AM

LAS VEGAS -- Michael Dell, founder and chairman of Dell, took the stage this morning to unveil a handful of new products and initiatives from the Round Rock, Texas, computer maker.

On the environmental front, the company is allowing customers to pay for "offsets" of the emissions generated by the electricity their PCs use. Under the "select my environmental options" tab of Dell's online PC store, customers can add $2 to the price of a laptop or $6 to a desktop. The money will go to plant trees, Dell said.

To balance the good, Dell's presentation needed some evil.

A lookalike of Dr. Evil -- the enemy of Mike Myers' movie super spy Austin Powers -- helped Dell introduce another new service, due out later this year, to allow people to upload the contents of their old computer to be stored by Dell and then installed on a new machine

Dr. Evil also took a few pot shots at the show in general and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in particular.

"I have come to interrupt your little Pampered Chef, ... Amway meeting or whatever the hell it is you're doing in here," Dr. Evil said. "Though I must say, it's an exciting time at CES. So many evil geniuses together in one hotel is breathtaking."

Evil on Gates: "He's a hero among megalomaniacs." And his philanthropy: "I haven't figured out his angle yet, but it's breathtaking."

Among the new products Dell announced: a 27-inch ultra sharp monitor, included along with a printer, wireless router, revved-up PC with a digital high-definition cable TV tuner card and printer as part of the Home Media Suite.

"It enables Vista PCs to tune, view and pause live television and record TV right on the hard disk," Dell said.

The company is also introducing a new cooling system for high-performance gaming PCs and another home media machine, this one from Alienware, the specialty PC maker it recently acquired. The Hangar 18 is in a form factor reminiscent of a DVD player complete with media controls on the face. Clearly designed to go right under the TV in the living room.

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