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Wednesday, 13 August 2008 07:29

Dell launches ?E? series Latitudes

Written by David Stellmack

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“D” series Latitude to go EOL this year

As with the Dell “C” series Latitude line of business notebooks, the “D” series of Latitude notebooks will be bidding a fond farewell at the end of 2008 as Dell launches the new “E” series line of Latitude notebooks.

Rumors have persisted for some time that Dell would be moving away from the “D” series models of Latitudes to launch the new “E” series. The Latitude line of business notebooks are targeted at business customers who value stability and consistent model availability over having the latest cutting edge bells and whistles in their notebooks.

The move from the “D” series to the “E” series also signals a move from the “D” series accessories to the new “E” series accessories. Accessories such as docking stations are normally compatible from model year to model year as long as the notebooks are within the same product family.

The new “E” series Latitudes that were launched yesterday feature a new direction in the design of their business class notebook product line. With the latest and most up-to-date technology, as well as the slew of new features in the “E” series product line, that might have much of the competition sitting up and taking notice as they pushed a lot of these new technologies to the limit to bring some truly innovative new things to the table.

The new Latitudes will arrive in four different segments, which are the Ultra-Portable, Entry Level, Mainstream, and Rugged.

The Ultra-portable in the Latitude family will be the new 12.1” and 13.3” E4200/E4300 models. In the Entry-Level category Dell will offer the 14.1” E5400 and the 15.4” E5500. The mainstream segment for the Latitude that has been the most popular for most business customers over the years will be launched with the E6500.

The mainstream segment, however, has yielded some ground in recent years to the ever growing popularity of the ultra-portable segment. The newest segment for Dell in recent years is the rugged segment, which will be represented by the new ATG E6400, a direct competitor to the Panasonic popular Toughbook product line.

Some of the new features Dell has added include UWB, GPS, WiMax, backlit keyboards, smaller power adapter bricks, and colors. Yes, that is right: in a first for the Latitude product line, the Latitude notebooks, depending on the model, will be available in colors for the first time.

The biggest news, however, is the claim of 19 hours of power on a single charge using the 9-cell battery slice. While we can’t yet confirm these kinds of battery life claims, it does stand to reason that Dell has been working on the improvement of battery performance with the new “E” series notebooks and this should prove to be something that will generate a lot of interest among enterprise customers.

In a discussion with a large enterprise business customer today, he commented that while he is excited to get his hands on an E6500, he can’t help but be unhappy with the prospect of having to re-purchase replacements for the vast amount of “D” series accessories that his company already owns.

He told us, “Dell told us the E series was coming and we have been trying to buy less D series accessories that will soon be obsolete, but is tough when the company is growing and you need to buy things like D series docking stations that will only get a couple of years out of them before they will have to be replaced with E series models. While it is understandable, it’s just an added expense that we have to absorb in order to the technology to evolve, but I am glad that they don’t change this stuff too often.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 August 2008 07:58

David Stellmack

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