Dell Unveils Concept Tablet, Cranked-Up Notebooks

Computer maker Dell has taken the wraps off its 2010 CES product lineup, and like other computer makers the company is hopping on the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 bandwagon with its notebook computer wares, but has also trotted out new entries in its high-performance Alienware gaming computer line and a new 5-inch “tablet concept” that the company envisions as a Web-capable “companion device” that syncs with users main digital content and data sources.

“We are focused on technology and solutions that help people connect and share content virtually anytime and anyplace,” said Dell sales and marketing VP Michael Tatelman, in a statement. “Consumers are demanding enhanced mobility in high-quality devices, and want to know they have made smart choices with their purchases.”

Dell Concept Tablet

First up: Dell’s “tablet concept” features a 5-inch display and a 5 megapixel camera. The company is positioning the tablet as a “companion device” that lets a user take a full Web experience with then anywhere they go, and also syncs with a user’s primary media and data to folks can keep up with email, documents, and (of course!) social networking services. Dell is being very cagey about the tablet concept’s capabilities and specs, but the device appears to be running Android. Other than that, Dell isn’t saying much except that its working on a series of “slate” concepts. No word on any pricing or availability.

Dell Concept Tablet

More concretely, Dell has unveiled the Alienware M17x and M15x gaming notebooks, billing them as the most powerful 17-inch and 15-inch notebooks they’ve ever build. The new M17x will feature Intel Core i7 processors with dual graphics controllers to pump out the high-definition graphics at blistering speeds; the M15x also gets a speed bump and improved graphics options. The M17x will start at $1,799 and the M15x debuts at $1,399.

Alienware M17x (CES 2010)

Dell has also popped Intel Core i5 processors into its mainstream Inspiron 14, 15, and 17 lines, and has also slimmed down the chassis and added SRS Premium Surround Sound. Prices will start at $849, and later this month Dell plans to roll out versions with Intel’s Core i3 processor with prices starting at $549.

Dell Inspiron Family (CES 2010)

Inching up the style ladder, Dell has also revamped its Studio 14, 15, and 17 notebook computers to feature Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors; the Studio 17 will offer a 17.3-inch display and a starting price of $949, while the Studio 15 will start at $849 with a 15.6-inch display. The “Portable Studio 14” will be available later this month with prices starting at $699.

Dell Studio family (CES 2010)

All told, Dell’s changes to its notebook lineup represent fairly conservative refreshes designed to incorporate Intel’s latest processor technology and stay on par with other computer makers—not a bad move, since Dell recently lost its #2 position in worldwide computer sales. However, it’s not clear how well consumers are responding to the elements that differentiate Dell systems from the competition: while the Alienware systems have a market of their own in the gaming arena, are a selection of unique colors and case covers really enough to distinguish Dell systems from everything else on the market right now—or do they merely serve to make it more difficult to determine what, exactly, Dell is offering?

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