New Dell Latitude Z laptop charges wirelessly

Microsoft Exchange instant-on environment can run up to 48 hours (see image, below)

Dell Inc. introduced an ultra-thin premium business laptop on Tuesday that is the first to let users do away with most of the cables and wires -- including the power cable.

Starting at $1,999, the Latitude Z can be recharged by placing it on a special notebook stand that creates an "inductive charging" field similar to cordless toothbrush or electric shaver chargers, said Steve Belt, vice-president of engineering for Dell's business client hardware group.

The induction charger works with an induction coil on the Latitude Z to refill its battery as fast as a conventional wired charger, Belt said. It is also 70% efficient, making it better than typical inductive charging systems that waste 50% of the electricity sent through them. Despite the power surging within its field, Belt said the charger won't affect any nearby devices.

Besides the inductive charging, Dell is also offering an optional wireless docking station based on Ultrawideband technology. Placed near the user's desk, the docking station includes several USB connectors, a DVI video connector, and audio jacks, which are connected via wired connections.

The Latitude Z needs to be brought only within about 9 feet of the docking station for it to be connected wirelessly to those ports and devices, Belt said.

Belt said the devices were "architected and conceived by Dell," and would help Latitude Z users create a "nice, clean desk." The devices were built by Dell partners whose identities he declined to disclose.

The coil and elevated notebook stand come together as a $199 set, while the docking station also costs $199, meaning that users wanting the near-wireless environment must add almost $400 on top of the Latitude Z's $1,999 base price.

The Latitude Z, which weighs 4.5 pounds and is as thin as 0.5-inches, will also be the first notebook to ship with the instant-on environment Dell announced last year called Latitude ON, Belt said.

Latitude ON is a small secondary motherboard inside the Z that includes an ARM processor, graphics and Wi-Fi chips and more, and runs a heavily-modified version of Linux which Belt declined to name, other than to say it is not, contrary to one report, Novell Inc.'s Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop.

Dell Latitude Z
Dell's sleek new Latitude Z.
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