The Dell Latitude 2100 netbook is the newest extension to Dell's enterprise-class Latitude laptop line, and it was build with school kids and classrooms in mind.
The exterior of the Dell Latitude 2100 netbook is upholstered in a rubberized kickball fabric, for easy gripping and a bit of added ruggedness, and comes in a choice of five primary colors - Dell marketers imagine scenarios such as "second graders get red ones, third graders get blue," and so on.
Other kid-minded options of the Latitude 2100 are an anti-microbial keyboard, a Web cam and a touch screen.
Each Dell netbook also has a strip on its battery on which it can clearly be labeled with the name of its owner, or the room it belongs in, and Kensington Lock slots on the top corners of each netbook enable users to carry them with a shoulder strap. Additionally, to help prevent damage from spills, the bottom of the Latitude 2100 netbook is free of vents. (Just be sure to knock over your juice nearby, instead of over it.) To offer teachers a bit of insight into student activity, each Dell Latitude 2100 features a configurable Network Activity Light on the back of the open netbook, and these can be made to light up, for example, when a task is completed, or if a student is online when he or she shouldn't be.
On the inside, the Dell Latitude 2100 is essentially standard netbook fare, with an Intel Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, an Intel 945 PM/GS Express chip set and a weight of 2.9 pounds with a 3-cell battery. Its measurements are 10.43 by 7.36 by 0.89 inches.
A 6-cell battery is also an option, and so is the choice of a hard or solid state drive, for a bit more durability. (The Latitude 2100, say Dell spokespeople, is ruggedized, though not rugged.)
The solid state drives offer up to 16GB of storage, and the hard drive offers 250GB. Connectivity options include 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet, wireless LAN and Bluetooth 2.1.
Options also extend to the operating systems, which include Microsoft's Windows XP Home, Vista Home Basic or Ubuntu Linux version 8.10.
And in a last grand gesture toward making the Latitude 2100 netbook classroom-attractive, Dell will be offering a media cart that makes managing two dozen computers more, well, manageable.
The Dell Mobile Computing Station - which is not yet available, though the 2100s are - can hold 24 netbooks, each of which click into it standing upright, for a look that's not unlike a blade server. Once in the cart, all 24 netbooks can be charged and remotely managed with just one power and Ethernet chord.
The price of the cart has yet to be released, but the Dell Latitude 2100 netbooks begin at $369 and will be sold through Dell Direct and Dell channel partners, though no retail stores.