For the last several years, Dell has cranked out perfectly nice PCs. They're generally speedy, generally priced to sell, and generally boring. They work pretty well, parts are easy to find since everyone and their brother has a Dell, and support isn't worse than any other major OEM. They've become a de facto choice among Wintel-based educational institutions because they are priced so competitively and are basically ubiquitous in the PC market.
That doesn't mean they've produced anything I actually wanted to purchase and, in fact, I passed them over for our last several tech purchases (both major and minor) because HP combined great deals with great customer support via a local reseller. Now, however, as I see just how useful tablet PCs can be in a classroom, I have to say I really want one of their Latitude XTs. This tablet, scheduled to begin shipping in January, looks to be small, light, powerful, and innovative in its use of the touchscreen.
According to Dell's spec sheet on the XT, their new touch technology offers several advantages over older incarnations from other manufacturers:
No more keeping your palm off the tablet surface. No more forcing your hand into awkward positions or pressing down for touch recognition. The Dell Latitude XT solves the problems of other tablets, making it effortless to use — simply pick up the pen and write as you would on a piece of paper.
This system won't be cheap. Pricing will be in the $2500 range. However, for educators who can really make these devices work in the classroom, it could be money very well spent (and on par with interactive whiteboards, which they can easily replace if coupled with a projector).