Dell launches new notebooks for small business

Dell Inc. announced two new laptop computers Tuesday aimed at the middle of the marketplace for people performing small-business tasks or enjoying multimedia entertainment.

The Inspiron 6400 and Inspiron E1505 are the first Dell products to provide technologies previously available only on high-end systems packed into a 6-lb. package.

The Inspiron E1505 is designed to be a multimedia tool, capable of playing movies and photos, music and -- with an additional tuner and Internet link -- television.

The Inspiron 6400 offers enough horsepower to allow home-office and small-business customers to run demanding office applications for untethered productivity.

For either goal, the key technology is Intel' Corp.s Core Duo processor. The chip's architecture allows users to juggle simultaneous tasks, such as playing videos while ripping music files, or editing spreadsheets while running virus scans.

Both models are built for speed when handling image or song files. Users can access digital media without booting Windows, thanks to a one-button MediaDirect function. And they can access those files on an attached-storage device with a 5-in-1 media-card reader or ExpressCard slot.

This launch marks the second time in a week that a major PC vendor has aimed new products at the fast-growing small and midsize business market.

Last Thursday, Lenovo Group Ltd. announced its 3000-series of Intel-powered notebooks and desktops featuring either Intel Corp. or Advanced Micro Devices Inc. processors (see "Lenovo launches $349 desktop PC for small businesses"). Lenovo's new products are priced much lower than Dell's for the cost-sensitive end of the market.

Dell is selling the Inspiron E1505 and 6400 systems for $929 with an Intel Core Solo T1300 processor or $979 with a Core Duo T2300 processor.

Those standard configurations also include Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, 15.4-in. display screen, 512MB DDR2 memory, a 40GB hard drive, a six-cell battery and a one-year limited warranty.

Options include operating systems from Microsoft Windows XP Home to Media Center Edition 2005 or XP Professional, a Serial ATA hard drive up to 100GB, and either Core Due or Core Solo processors, both running at 667 MHz.

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