Dell Business Notebooks to Go Wide?

Dell appears ready to offer wide screens and wide-area wireless in its latest line of Latitude laptops for businesses.

Dell appears poised to offer smaller, lighter and more capable wireless notebooks for businesses.

The computer maker will likely preview a new lineup of Latitude notebooks on March 28, at a small event at a New York steakhouse.

The event, an e-mail sent by Dell said, will offer "a preview of Dells next-generation mobile platforms. Representatives from Dells mobile broadband providers, Cingular and Verizon Wireless, and Intel will also be in attendance.

"The event will include interactive discussions on a variety of topics including Dells mobile strategy and the impact of mobile broadband, security, product design and durability."

Aside from sporting the latest Intel hardware, including the chip makers dual-core Core Duo processors, the machines are expected to be more portable—both in that they weigh less and because they will incorporate wide-area wireless technology—and to make greater use of wide-screen displays.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about what Intel is doing to improve wireless notebook technology.

One new Latitude model, the Latitude 620, will weigh about 4.4 pounds and will offer a 14.1-inch wide-screen display, in addition to providing the option for wide-area wireless service from Cingular or Verizon in the United States, a document posted on Dells European Web site suggests.


The companys support site also makes brief mention of the new, as yet unannounced, D620.

A Dell spokesperson decline to comment on the event or the document, saying he had not yet seen it.

However, Dell, along with rivals Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, have begun to incorporate wide-area wireless hardware directly into business laptops as one way of tailoring the technology for business customers.

Machines like the Latitude 620 series can harbor the radio antennas and radio cards necessary to access the services, without requiring an external PC card with its own antenna, which can be inconvenient to operate. The machines can make use of wide-area networks when in the field, but connect to cheaper Wi-Fi service when indoors or at the office.

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The move comes as the market for wide-area wireless-capable notebooks is set to grow from almost zero in 2005 to millions by the end of the decade. A recent report by EndPoint Technologies Associates, in Concord, Mass., projected that the wireless-capable machines would rise from a few hundred thousand units in 2005 to close to 20 million by 2010.

As with most Dell systems, the new 620 machine will offer a range of hardware choices, including several Intel Core processors from 1.6GHz to 2.16GHz, hard drives from 40GB to 100GB, and CD-RW and DVD-RW drives, the document on the European Web site indicated.

The machines make use of what is known as Napa, an Intel chip platform that includes the Core processor, the mobile 945 chip set and a Wi-Fi module that can operate on multiple 802.11-format networks. Dell tends to offer its own wireless modules as options as well.

The Round Rock, Texas, PC maker is expected to update its entire Latitude line over time, adding the new Intel chips.

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