Dell courts business nomads with new laptops

New family ranges from ultraportables to rugged machines and mobile workstations

Dell Inc. yesterday laid out a new line of Latitude and Precision laptop computers ranging from ultraportables to high-end mobile workstations.

The company said that it is going after the so-called digital nomad with the bevy of business laptops, noting that the result is based upon input from nearly 4,000 IT pros and end users.

"Since 1995, we've shipped more business laptops worldwide than anyone," said Michael Dell, company chairman and CEO, in a statement. "This, and our 5 million-plus conversations a day with customers, gives us real insight into the needs of the digital nomad."

For example, the new offerings include a few ultraportable designs for the business traveler who doesn't want to carry a heavy computer through the airports but still needs business-level performance.

One of Dell's ultraportables is the Dell Latitude E4200, which weighs 2.2 lb. and has a 12.1-in. screen. The company noted that it's the lightest commercial notebook in Dell's history. Its cousin, the new Latitude E4300, initially weights in at 3.3 lb. and has a 13.3-in. screen. Both Latitude systems are slated to be available in a few weeks.

Dell also came out with a semirugged laptop -- the Latitude E6400 ATG. It has a 14.1-in. screen that is designed to meet Military Standard 810F for dealing with dust, vibration and humidity. The E6400 starts at $2,399 and is slated to be available next week.

The computer maker also unveiled four more Latitude models whose targets range from power users to a more mainstream audience looking for low prices.

The new Latitude laptops come in a range of colors, the first time Dell has offered that feature in this family. The Latitude E4200, E4300, E6400 and E6500 all will come in blue and red. The E4200 also will come in pink.

On the workstation side, Dell announced that it's going after power users in the engineering, science and entertainment fields with a new line of Precision mobile workstations. The company unveiled the Precision M4400, a mobile workstation with a 15.4-in. screen and up to 8GB of RAM. Dell also released the 4.77-lb. Precision M2400, its lightest mobile workstation to date.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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