Dell plans thinner notebook, mulls PDA

The world's second biggest PC manufacturer, Dell, will release an ultra-thin notebook this month as part of a fresh assault in the mobile sector.
Written by Martin Veitch, Contributor

The Latitude CS, to be released in the UK at the end of August, is described by the firm as "a Latitude CPI in a four-pound box". The unit will ship with processors up to a 400MHz Pentium II and will accept mobile Pentium III chips when they appear in the autumn.

However, the CS does omit one standard function on most notebooks: the infra-red port. Tim Peters, general manager of Dell's Latitude notebook business, agreed that the move would hit some European users of GSM phones who use the port for modem connections but the firm's data suggests that less than one percent of users worldwide use the IR lens. The CS will cost from about £2000 + VAT.

Peters also said that Dell plans to improve its notebook build-to-order model by making more components including the notebook motherboard available for just-in-time assembly. "It'll be just like the desktop model," he said.

In other mobile systems, Dell has so far been a no-show in personal digital assistants but the firm stresses that it is examining possible deals and says it has spoken to a range of possible suppliers.

These include the Symbian consortium that will use Psion's Epoc operating system in a range of smartphone and other devices that combine data processing with communications. Another interesting option is Research in Motion (www.rim.net) of Canada, maker of the Blackberry, a pager-style wireless device that can receive full Outlook emails with attachments in real-time. RIM plans to introduce a GSM version of the wireless service next year.

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