One could say it was just a matter of time, but it seems as if Dell is following in the footsteps (in principle, at least) of the likes of OLPC (with its XO) and Intel (with its Classmate PC). Today, the company responsible for the gorgeous Studio XPS line and the heralded Inspiron family has introduced a different breed of notebook, the Latitude 2100. This machine is aimed specifically at K-12 students, and Dell notes that it is its first 10.1" netbook to be designed for education.
Built with a "student rugged" rubberized design and offered in five kid-friendly colors, the new Latitude boasts built-in Wi-Fi that can be monitored by educators with a network activity light and an optional touchscreen, which is a first for education netbooks. Also of note, a custom-built Mobile Computing Station equips classrooms with a cart to store, manage and network up to 24 netbooks with one Ethernet and power cord. Dell makes clear that this netbook can also appeal to other public-sector and enterprise customers in the training business, as it is durable, Internet-ready and easy to afford.
For US customers, there is also the option of an antimicrobial keyboard, and everyone can opt for SSDs over HDDs, quick-connect handles and shoulder straps for carrying, and a webcam. Potentially best of all, you don't have to have an email address that ends in .edu in order to buy one, as even the layperson can snap one up starting today at $369.
“student-rugged” Latitude 2100 is designed to absorb the daily bumps
and bruises of a crowded playground or backpack. Offered in five colors
– School Bus Gold, Chalkboard Black, Ball Field Green, Blue Ribbon and
Schoolhouse Red– the Latitude 2100 comes with a 10.1-inch screen and a
unique “four-square-ball-style” rubber casing, making it easy for little hands to grip the netbook.
system is available with a personalized window on the back of the
battery pack where the school logo or name can be displayed, allowing
schools to personalize or easily identify systems.
with a wireless communication suite and optional webcam, the Latitude
2100 enables productive days filled with collaboration, exploration and
easy uploading of assignments. A Network Activity Light on the lid
helps teachers monitor network use and identify students who may be
surfing the Internet.
The Latitude 2100 also includes:
Choice of XP Home, Vista Home Basic and Linux Ubuntu
Intel Atom processor N270
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity coupled with a full suite of wireless communication options
2.91lb* (1.32kg) starting at weight with 3-cell battery
Hard or solid state drives for increased durability
Three-cell or six-cell battery
Three-in-one Media Card Reader
Optional External DVD+/-RW via USB
Clean bottom is vent-free to avoid any intrusion from spills
Options: webcam and a keyboard featuring antimicrobial protection (U.S. only)
Key management features can allow IT administrators to lower overall ownership cost and speed up deployment:
More durable design that means a longer product life
Remote management for easier administration
Dell ImageDirect where systems can be delivered with pre-installed software and the school’s specific network image (U.S. only)
Customization helps reduce deployment time by configuring software
straight from the factory (U.S. only). This reduces the need for the
administrator to physically touch the system and speeds up getting it
in the hands of the students.
Coming soon in the U.S.,
the Latitude 2100 is available with a Mobile Computing Station that
equips classrooms with a cart to store securely, manage and network up
to 24 netbooks with one Ethernet and power cord.