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Dell Teases Inspiron Duo, Tablet/Netbook Hybrid Flips to Reveal a Keyboard

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Dell introduced the Inspiron Duo, a slate device that at first glance looks a heck of a lot like every other 10-inch tablet out there. Like Dell tiny 5-inch tablet, the Inspiron Duo is bright red. The audience here at IDF didn’t seem all that thrilled about yet another slate device, until the Dell rep mentioned that most tablets aren’t very good when it comes to productivity. Then he pushed back on the display, some magic happened and the thing turned into a netbook.

The Inspiron Duo has a dual-core Intel Atom processor and runs on Windows 7 Home Premium.

Dell’s not revealing specifications, too many details or pricing info today, but it will be available later this year, presumably around the holiday shopping season. It doesn’t appear to support inking, but it does support multi-touch. For long time Tablet PC fans, this device may bring back memories of the Compaq TC1000 series, which was slate first, but had a keyboard just in case.

The Dell Inspiron Duo could be a serious netbook killer. Yes the term ‘netbook killer’ is overused these days, but why would you buy a clamshell when you could a device that looks like it’ll be a more usable on the go.

The device looks very thin, which begs the question- where’s the battery and will it deliver anything close to what people are beginning to expect on a consumer slate?  I’m also hoping that Dell customizes the WIndows experience and offers a touch-centric UI when the netbook/slate is in touch mode.

Xavier Lanier is the publisher of Gotta Be Mobile and a photographer. He uses too many devices to count, but his current favorites are the iPhone 5s, HTC One, Nikon D800 and Sony RX 100M II. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

34 Comments

  1. Tuur

    09/14/2010 at 12:36 pm

    damn, this would be the miracle solution if only it would have pen input. Why is every pc maker is skipping that part?!!!

    • Xavier Lanier

      09/14/2010 at 1:50 pm

      Pen input is unfortunately not on the agenda for consumer slates/convertibles. A journalist at the keynote begged Intel and its partners to not forget about the stylus and they didn’t even respond to the comment.

  2. Sumocat

    09/14/2010 at 12:55 pm

    Reminds me more of the Acer TravelMate slider design than the TC1000. Flip and slider designs have a real advantage over convertibles in that they don’t require screen rotation or physical space beyond the current footprint to switch modes. But I suspect the reason they did not take off was the engineering challenge of keeping the screen unit electronically connected to the base unit. I predict fun times as the slate vs. convertible war re-ignites.

    • Xavier Lanier

      09/14/2010 at 1:48 pm

      Yup, I spoke too soon. The first time he flipped it around the keyboard/base looked much less significant than when I was close up.

      • Tuur

        09/14/2010 at 1:52 pm

        Xavier, did Dell confirm there is no pen input available?

        • Xavier Lanier

          09/14/2010 at 2:02 pm

          No, they were only on stage for a few minutes, but I’m willing to bet that there’s no pen input. Focused on Touch and flipping screen. When the journalist suggested Intel talk about the Stylus, nobody made a peep about any of the slates/tablets on stage shipping with a stylus.
          I guess you can always buy an iPad-oriented stylus and make do…

    • ChrisRS

      09/14/2010 at 2:37 pm

      The flip design is very much like the Vadem Clio (also, marketed by Sharp) in about 1999. I believe that this was a WIndows CE device.

  3. ChrisRS

    09/14/2010 at 1:14 pm

    Needs a pen. I would prefer an optional add on keyboard that would allow “docking” in either landscape or portrait mode. (USB Cable or BT wopuld be better than a phyisical dock connection – for this small a screen, physical separation of the screen from the keyboard is more ergonomic.) I would prefer a totally sewperate BT keyboars solution. Keep the computer lighter and don’t include any trouble prone hinges, sliders, teisting wires/cables, etc. All the tablets I have had were convertables. All the problems they have had were hinge related.

  4. RJ

    09/14/2010 at 1:40 pm

    Thats pretty freaking clever how they make it convert into a tablet. I was wondering at the first video…how is that used as a tablet? but then when they show it in the second video…ah….thats pretty cool. Have to say, I’m curious to which method of convertible is mechanically superior, that flip method or the more traditional convertible tablet model.

  5. Jeff Jackson

    09/14/2010 at 1:54 pm

    No ink==FAIL. Ink is the killer app for me on this class of device.

    • Roger J

      09/15/2010 at 9:28 am

      Yep, Jeff, with you 200% on the ink/pen shortfall. I suppose those beguiled by touch only don’t loiter around forums like this, including the hacks!

      I’ll take a Windows 7 slate with pen input so I can use it for work first, play second. If I want a keyboard I’ll use a BT one or my existing USB cable Mattias Folding Keyboard.

  6. GoodThings2Life

    09/14/2010 at 4:40 pm

    Yeah, I totally agree that it needs a pen before I’d buy one, BUT it still looks like an awesome piece of hardware, and certainly it seems like something that is finally interesting and unique to the tablet form factor!

  7. Mickey Segal

    09/14/2010 at 6:52 pm

    If it has a pen this would be the best candidate I’ve seen so far for a Motion LS800 replacement.

  8. Nameless

    09/21/2010 at 4:07 pm

    That take on the swivel hinge is interesting, but I’d still prefer a slider (Acer TravelMate C200, HTC Shift, Intel UrbanMax concept).

    If this one lacks an EMR pen, I’ll be disappointed, but let me remind you all that the Dell Latitude XT was the first convertible Tablet PC to use an N-Trig dual digitizer, and the drivers should be much better by now (at least 32-bit; 64-bit may be a crapshoot).

  9. Dennis Rice

    09/26/2010 at 7:02 am

    No, this is still not a TC1000 improvement. That device (really the original Tablet PC IMHO) still stands tall as an example of what the form factor should look like. Give me that machine with today’s processor and battery updates, plus Win 7 Ultimate and leave me alone.

  10. Katrina

    11/04/2010 at 2:42 am

    Typical Dell straw man attack on Apple. They also claimed to have the first laptops that came with WIFI standard. (A year after Apple was doing it.)

  11. HACKER

    11/13/2010 at 6:26 am

    NERD TALK^^ (erbody)

  12. MRC

    11/13/2010 at 6:28 am

    Was there a touch-keyboard on the tablet screen too?

  13. Best Registry Cleaner

    11/27/2010 at 7:58 am

    Thats pretty freaking clever how they make it convert into a tablet.

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    11/30/2010 at 2:10 am

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    11/30/2010 at 2:15 am

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    11/30/2010 at 2:34 am

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    11/30/2010 at 2:44 am

    thank you

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    11/30/2010 at 2:48 am

    yeash,that is a Good job!

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    12/01/2010 at 3:00 am

    crdhy

  20. Azaelb

    08/23/2011 at 9:36 pm

    The last comment was 8 months ago. I just had my hands in one Inspiron Duo.I had an HP Tx2 with a screen crash once and again, so I needed a Win7 Tablet to continue teaching. But… NO, the usual rubber tip iPad stylus does not work on the Duo. Yes, you may scribble some line and that is it. A possibility is to use a DAGi stylus. I will like to try one but there is no DAGi stylus available around. Boomer!

    • guest

      01/06/2012 at 3:22 pm

      Any luck with finding a compatabe stylus?

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