Dell Adamo, spunky MacBook Air rival, is no more

The 13-inch Dell Adamo was one of the most prominent MacBook Air challengers. Its relatively long life span has finally come to an end.

After a few last gasps at deep discounts, the Dell Adamo line and brand name will be discontinued, CNET has learned.

First revealed--with much fanfare--at CES in 2009, the Adamo was a worthy competitor to Apple's groundbreaking laptop. Like the Air, it had an aluminum casing, was eye-catchingly thin (at 0.65 inches), used solid-state drives long before they came into wider use, and packed ultra-power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processors.

But the Adamo, like the earlier MacBook Air models, was pricey, starting at around $2,000, when it was launched in March 2009. That so-called luxury laptop surcharge was hard to justify for consumers because the Adamo lacked a built-in optical drive and a high-performance processor. The original Air was also relatively unpopular for the very same reasons.

At just under 4 pounds, the Adamo wasn't quite as light as the MBA (3 pounds), though it did have a slightly larger 13.4-inch screen with slightly better 1,366x768 pixel resolution compared with the Air's (previous generation) 1,280x800 pixel resolution.

It also had the option for a built-in 3G card--unusual for a consumer laptop at that time--and sported a SIM card slot on the side of the enclosure, much like a smartphone or tablet.

The last few new Adamos were sold at steep discounts, going as low as $799, allowing Dell to clear out its remaining inventory, according an industry source familiar with the brand's end-of-life strategy.

Dell has already discontinued the Adamo XPS, an even more novel design--and thinner at 0.39 inches.

The Dell Adamo was an attractive, ultrathin, aluminum-clad 13-inch laptop like the MacBook Air.
The Dell Adamo was an attractive, ultrathin, aluminum-clad 13-inch laptop like the MacBook Air. Dell

But the spirit of the Adamo brand will live on in a spanking-new design due within six months, according to this source. That design will fall under one of Dell's existing consumer brands (e.g., Inspiron, XPS, Alienware). It will be as compelling a design as--or possibly more compelling than--the Adamo was, according to the source.

Today, there are few, if any, worthy direct competitors to the 2010 MacBook Air. That's testimony to Apple's design prowess more than anything. But the Adamo was a good Windows alternative and a great design in its own right.

As a final note, refurbished 13-inch Adamos are still available at low prices.

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