Dell Inspiron Duo tablet-netbook due on sale next week

Tossing up between a netbook and the added fun of a touchscreen tablet? Soon you'll have access to the best of both worlds, with Dell's tablet-netbook device due to go on sale next week.

We know the Dell Inspiron Duo , a hybrid device that can switch from tablet to netbook in a unique way, has a number of you rather excited. Well, it doesn't look like you have much longer to wait before the dual device hits online stores. 

Dell is expected to officially release the 10-inch Inspiron Duo next week, possibly on 23 November, according to our sister site CNET.com . It will be available for order on Dell's website.

We've seen hybrid laptop-tablets before, but nothing quite like the Duo. As well as taking advantage of a new market created by the iPad and followed by devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, its unique design has actually drawn gasps from people who've seen it. Here's a video showing just how the two-in-one gadget works.

As you can see, the tablet splits open to reveal a keyboard underneath. The screen swivels within the frame and -- abracadabra -- you have yourself a flipped-out new netbook. The design is brilliant, though we're not sure how robust it is, but obviously Dell has been able to manufacture it in large quantities.

Another question hangs over that tablet touchscreen. Usability is one area in which new tablet devices have succeeded where older tablets failed. Touching and moving things with your fingertips is now an enjoyable experience, rather than a frustrating chore.

The Dell Inspiron Duo is set to run on Windows 7, which wasn't designed for tablets. The operating system will work fine for the netbook side of things, but if the tablet is difficult to use, it could kill the Duo stone dead.

This is why we have nagging doubts. We love the look of the Inspiron Duo, but we need to see that tablet side of it responsive and working well before we commend Dell's efforts. Otherwise, it's just another netbook, with a tablet gimmick attached. We'll know more with a full review.

 

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