The Latitude 2100 is the first product in Australia to come with Ubuntu pre-installed. (Credit: Dell)
Dell today announced its Latitude 2100, a netbook designed specifically for school children. It is also the first Dell product in Australia to offer the Ubuntu operating system pre-installed.
Dell's US operation has been selling Ubuntu-based products since May 2007, but had said previously that its local operation had not seen enough demand to justify the Linux-based OS.
The Latitude 2100, which features a rubberised exterior and an activity light to notify teachers when a student is using the wireless network, is the first product Dell has offered in the country featuring the alternative operating system.
"From our point of view, we're willing to make it available. This platform primarily was designed for the education segment, but in discussions with our customers before launch there's interest outside the education space in this platform, across a broad range of segments from SMB upwards", Jeff Morris, Dell's APJ director of Commercial Client products said.
"In countries like China and India, open-source operating systems are very popular, so that's another driving factor for us to make it available within the Asian region."
The entry-level netbook will cost AU$706 and is equipped with an Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM, an 80GB hard drive, 802.11n wireless, gigabit Ethernet, a three-cell battery and will have Ubuntu pre-installed.
Upgrade options include up to 250GB of hard drive space, solid-state drives, a webcam, a six-cell battery and a single-touch touchscreen, although costs have yet to be confirmed. Windows XP Home and Windows Vista Home Basic versions will also be available.
This is not Dell Australia's first foray into Linux — according to its website, it currently sells products in its business range based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop; however, unlike the US these options are not selectable customisations through its online store.