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Dell puts a new spin on tablet computing with the Inspiron Duo

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November 24, 2010

Dell's Inspiron Duo convertible tablet

Dell's Inspiron Duo convertible tablet

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With the popularity of Apple’s iPad it’s easy to forget that most tablet computers used to be laptops with a hinge that allowed the touchscreen display to be swiveled around and folded down over the keyboard. Such designs are still available today but have had their thunder (and much of their market share) stolen by the touchscreen-only designs like the iPad. Recognizing that there’s still plenty of people who prefer the functionality of a full QWERTY keyboard, Dell has introduced the Inspiron Duo with its new flip-hinge design that allows users to switch from touch to type mode with a flip of the screen.

In type mode the Inspiron Duo looks just like a regular netbook computer with its chiclet keyboard and 10.1-inch display. Once you’re done composing emails or penning your latest novel you flip the screen, almost like flipping those stand-alone school blackboards, and fold it down to transform the unit into tablet mode. Using Dell’s duo Stage software, users are able to access music, video, games, the Internet and an e-Bookstore using a touch interface.

Dell's Inspiron Duo convertible tablet

The Inspiron Duo comes preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium and is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core Atom N550 processor and 2GB of RAM. Other specs include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, two USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, integrated 1.3 MP webcam and digital microphone. The 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen has a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels and HDD options include 250 GB, 5400 RPM or 320 GB, 7200 RPM drives. The device measures 285 mm wide x 194.5 mm deep (11.22 x 7.66-in) and from 26.2 mm (front) to 28.7 mm (back) high (1.03 – 1.13-in).

Dell's Inspiron Duo convertible tablet and optional Audio Station dock

Although Dell has given its new computer the Duo moniker, the company actually says it has tri-mode functionality through the optional Audio Station dock, which includes a built-in media card reader, JBL speakers, two additional USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet adapter and battery charger. In dock mode Dell says the Inspiron Duo can act as an alarm clock, digital photo frame or music player.

The Inspiron Duo can be ordered from Dell now with prices starting at US$549.99 and a preliminary shipping date of December 14, 2010.

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About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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9 Comments

Who the hell is going to pay $500 for a 1.5Mhz CPU? Better to stay off the stupid wagon and buy a notebook/laptop!

Facebook User
24th November, 2010 @ 05:45 am PST

"...the Inspiron Duo can act as an alarm clock, digital photo frame or music player."

Hope they don't get an inferiority complex by being used for such mundane tasks!

Nice machine, can't wait for mine to appear among my presents this year!

agulesin
24th November, 2010 @ 06:27 am PST

It's not quite true that previous tablet computers gave the functionality of the new varieties such as the iPad and the new ones coming out. They had limited touch screen capabilities mostly for annotating and some keyboard entry. Yes, apps make a difference with the iPad but if there had been a better touch screen sensitivity and interface in those previous computers, apps could have been developed, programs modified, and we wouldn't have had to wait for the iPad to create new growth in the computing market.

Luddite
24th November, 2010 @ 07:07 am PST

hah! finally somebody did the netbook tablet correctly :)

Blue Lucero
24th November, 2010 @ 07:19 am PST

I would almost consider buying it if it had Hdmi out

I want a tablet or small comp in my living room so i can stream my music video and do netflix on my tv

Facebook User
24th November, 2010 @ 10:59 am PST

Dear users pining for a physical keyboard:

You might want to look up "bluetooth".

Nothing against laptops, but iOS and Android OS are foundation-up redesigns of the OS concept, which has a lot more to do with their popularity than the screen size or processor speed. Mac took a lesson from Nintendo with the realization that the access to new markets would involve creating a product based on (and completely immersed in) new forms of user interaction, not a slow change clinging to old standards and failed concepts (like hinges that break or heavy boxes).

Charles Bosse
24th November, 2010 @ 12:28 pm PST

Calling it the "Duo", eh? Did they clear that with Apple? Remember the small Powerbook Duo series of laptops?

Facebook User
24th November, 2010 @ 05:42 pm PST

when I can install my SIM and get 3G AND phone service (bluetooth) I'll get one.

Questor Thews
25th November, 2010 @ 09:26 am PST

Great idea...hope to get one to try and use and have laying around....We already have the HP touch screen version of this and love it, especially over the picce of crap like the apple ipad.......

Richie Suraci
26th November, 2010 @ 05:49 pm PST
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