Dell Goes Back to School with Latitude 2100 Netbook

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Computer maker Dell has always targeted the education market with its desktop and notebook models—what computer maker doesn’t want to have its wares carted around in backpacks and populating university and high school labs? But now the company is targeting a much younger segment of students with its new Latitude 2100 netbook

Dell’s new Latitude 2100 is the company’s first netbook aimed at younger students, and features a ruggedized design with a rubberized casing to make the system easier for small hands to grip. Under the hood, the unit is much like many netbooks on the market—a 1.6 GHz Atom processor, 10.1-inch 1,280 by 576-pixel LCD display, up to 1 GB of RAM, hard drive and SSD options (up to 250 GB and 16 GB, respectively), gigabit ethernet, 802.11 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, VGA output, a 3-in-1 media card reader, three USB 2.0 ports, and integrated speakers and microphone. Options include an external 8× DVD±RW drive, Webcam, and a six-cell battery for added usage time. The unit can also be configured with an optional touchscreen and an antimicrobial keyboard, and the unit’s security locks can also be rigged up with carrying handles and shoulder straps. The systems will be available with Windows XP, Windows Vista Home Basic, or Ubuntu Linux pre-installed.

The Latitude 2100s will be available in five colors—gold, black, green, blue, and red—and feature a "personalization window" on the spine where a schools or organizations can slip an insert for easy identification and personalization. And Dell isn’t planning to turn the 2100s loose on schools with no help: the company also plans to offer a Mobile Computing Station that can set up classrooms with a cart that can store, manage, and charge up to 24 netbooks with one power cord and one Ethernet cable.

Pricing for the Latitude 2100 starts at $369, and while that’s a long way from the much-dreamed-about $100 laptops the education market has been craving, Dell clearly hopes it has a hit on its hands as U.S. schools move towards a 1:1 ratio between computers and students.

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