LAS VEGAS-Dell offered a sneak peak at its latest high-end laptop, called the "Adamo," at the International CES expo here, confirming rumors that the company had engineered a notebook that could rival the Apple MacBook Air.
During a Jan. 9 press conference to announce a mininotebook called the Dell Mini 10, Dell executives gave the audience a quick look at the Adamo laptop. After a model brought the notebook on stage for a brief demonstration, she took the laptop away and Dell offered no further details about Adamo, according to an Associated Press account.
Later, Dell posted a blog entry about the Adamo on its Direct2Dell Web site, but again the company offered few details. However, leaks about the Adamo preceded this year's CES and the notebook has been described as a high-end machine that offers the same thin and light look that Apple achieved with the MacBook Air, which was released in 2008.
Now, the question is when Dell will release the Adamo laptop for the consumer market and whether the company's engineering will match what Apple achieved with the MacBook Air.
"Basically, Dell wants to make a design statement," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates.
"For years, Dell has been known for low-cost designs and being able to offer efficient delivery," Kay said. "With this laptop, Dell is looking to make a statement. They know they are not going to sell a lot of these, but the idea is to show people they can do this type of high-end design and then people will know that the company is capable of producing good, mainstream notebooks."
Thinner, more portable laptops turned up in many of the announcements at CES. In addition to Dell, Hewlett-Packard, which remains the world's top PC manufacturer, offered a new notebook based on Advanced Micro Devices' "Yukon" platform. The idea for the AMD platform was to create a new class of light, ultraportable machines that would offer the same performance as a full-sized notebook and come in a form factor that is larger than typically found in a "netbook" or mininotebook.
In addition, Lenovo rolled out several new consumer notebooks, including a 16-inch laptop, which also incorporated these thinner and lighter design elements. However, Lenovo's new IdeaPad laptops are more expensive than the HP Pavilion dv2 based on AMD's Yukon.
However, with Adamo, Dell looks to be targeting an audience willing to pay a premium for a cutting-edge laptop. HP and Lenovo, on the other hand, spent CES trying to drive down the price of notebooks even further.
In addition to the Adamo tease, Dell showcased the Mini 10, a 10-inch mininotebook that uses an Intel Atom Z530 (1.60GHz) processor. This specific Intel Atom processor was originally designed for MIDs (mobile Internet devices).
The Dell Mini 10 will have multitouch capabilities, built-in broadband technology and built-in GPS, and will use 802.11 draft-n wireless technologies.
Finally, Dell also announced Jan. 9 that it had signed a partnership deal with AT&T that will allow users to buy a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for $99 with a two-year Internet service contract from AT&T. The Inspiron Mini 9 usually sells for about $499.