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Cloud Computing Expo - Dell Rejigs its Commercial Laptops
Dell Unveiled the Strategic Redesign of its Latitude and Precision Business Laptops

While everybody is really waiting for Dell to push into the small and cheap market and go mano a mano with the Asus Eee, Dell unveiled the strategic redesign of its Latitude and Precision business laptops, a move that has to prove Dell’s back in the game or its heralded turnaround will fizzle – corporate sales being Dell’s biggest money maker and the shift from desktops to laptops pushing inexorably on.

None of the 10 new laptops use AMD chips; they’re all Intel, by the way.

Dell suggested it took notes on what nearly 4,000 IT professionals and end users had to say – and invested over a million engineering hours – in rejigging the E series widgets, its first makeover in five years.

The remake includes Dell’s lightest commercial ultra-portable to date, weighing in at a kilo (2.2 pounds), and battery bragging rights for its new mainstream Latitude E6400, which is supposed to be good for 19 hours.

And, depending on the model, the gismos come in colors: red, blue, black, “quartz pink” and mica-brushed metal.

Dell describes its new 14.1-inch Latitude E6400 and 15.4-inch E6500 as being “ideal” desktop replacements for high-performance users – the market the exercise is supposed to retrieve. The first starts at $1,139, the other at $1,169.

Then there’s the cheaper Latitude E5400, a 14.1-inch notebook that starts at $839, and the E5500, a 15.4-inch model that starts at $869.

A high-end Latitude E6400 ATG, a 14.1-inch semi-rugged laptop that starts at $2,399, is built and tested to meet Military 810F standards for dust, vibration and humidity.

The lightweight 12.1-inch Latitude E4200 and a like-minded 3.3lb 13.3-inch Latitude E4300, which remind people of Apple’s 3lb Air MacBook, won’t be available for a few weeks or months.

The company previewed the optional Latitude ON widgetry that’s supposed to feature on the two absentees. The mojo, which apparently delayed the widgets’ appearance, is suppose to give the E4200 and E4300 near-instant access to e-mail, calendar, attachments, contacts and the web without booting into the system’s main operating system, sort of like what HP and Lenovo notebooks have.

Dell’s Latitude ON uses a dedicated low-voltage ARM-based subprocessor and Linux operating system that can enable multi-day battery life.

Dell says the E6500 is the only laptop with both a contact-less Smart Card reader and a fingerprint reader that comply with Federal Information Processing Standards.

Other features include with an intelligent backlit keyboard that automatically adjusts to ambient light levels and a so-called ControlVault solution, based on intelligent security Broadcom subprocessors with embedded non-volatile storage that centralize and help protect user credentials and security keys in a single hardened security “vault” away from the systems main drive.

Dell also trotted out a couple of mobile workstations targeted at engineering, media, entertainment and bioscience users, a 15.4-inch Precision M4400, starting $1,569, which supports up to 8GB of RAM and a 14.1-inch 4.77lb Precision M2400, Dell’s lightest mobile workstation, which starts at $1,449.

Dell also has a 17-inch mobile workstation concept that supports up to 16GB of RAM, a 1GB graphics card, upcoming quad-core processors and up to a terabyte of storage on two drives. Dell says it doubles the amount of memory and processor cores, and triples the storage available on Lenovo and HP mobile workstations today.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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