Dell on Tuesday launched a rugged version of its Latitude laptop in a move to take on Panasonic and General Dynamics' iTronix unit, which currently dominate the market for laptops used by military personnel, police officers and other folks that need a computer that can take a beating.The laptop, which starts at $3,899, is dubbed the Latitude XFR D630.
Dell on Tuesday launched a rugged version of its Latitude laptop in a move to take on Panasonic and General Dynamics' iTronix unit, which currently dominate the market for laptops used by military personnel, police officers and other folks that need a computer that can take a beating.
The laptop, which starts at $3,899, is dubbed the Latitude XFR D630. According to Brett McAnally, director of product management of Dell's commercial notebook unit, the goal was to create a rugged laptop that was compatible with other Latitude laptops to ease deployment.
McAnally said the XFR D630 is at attempt by Dell (Techmeme, all resources) to make more "purpose based" notebooks to compete with Panasonic and iTronix, which has a line of rugged notebooks. In this case, the idea is to create a laptop that can be dropped from 3 feet and survive in moisture and dust and extreme heat. Dell is also promising next day on-site support instead of requiring customers to send the unit back.
Under its exterior, the Latitude is similar to its weaker cousins. McAnally said by making sure the rugged laptop is 100 percent compatible with regular components--battery, AC adapter and other items--it should be easier to deploy. Dell said it has added
solid-state drives, batteries capable of charging faster and screens that are easier to view outdoors. What remains to be seen is whether Dell can upend established players. For instance, General Dynamics can leverage its current relationships with the Department of Defense to pitch its iTronix rugged laptops (right).
Here's a look at the Dell specs:
Intel Core2 Duo (Dual Core) Processors (up to 2.4 GHz) 800 MHz Front Side Bus and power managed up to 4 MB smart L2 Cache;
Recessed, Dual integrated, sealed/protected Task Lights (red) for keyboard illumination.
Supports 512 MB to 4056 MB2 of 667 MHz / Advanced DDR2 Dual Channel Memory
HDD Shock Isolation and Protection Cage based on proprietary design / User Accessible HDD Cage supports both "lock down" and "expedited access"
Durable HDD standard is 1.8" 80GB2, shock-resistant, isolated and protected HDD
Standard Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics - up to 256MB2 Shared video memory1 (358MB with Vista) / Optimized performance supports
Windows Vista Software and Aero / graphics feature
Rugged, protected 14.1" Wide-Aspect WXGA DirectVue display / DirectVuedisplay enhancement supports outdoor readability with
advanced optics technology / 14.1" WXGA resolution (1280 x 800) Shock isolated, impact protected and sealed from moisture and dust /
Measurable wide-aspect benefits - increased viewing areas, less scrolling, multi-page and multi-window viewing / Hardened LCD cover