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Dell displays its fashion sense

The PC giant is offering removable plates for its new Inspiron 4100 notebooks in 18 colors, patterns and textures, including Burlwood and Denim.

Is snakeskin in?

Dell Computer said Monday that it is offering removable plates for its new Inspiron 4100 notebooks in 18 colors, patterns and textures. The QuickSnap Color Inserts range from Iridescent Jade, Burlwood and Antique to Denim, Fishskin and Snakeskin.

Dell has offered customers the ability to choose custom colors for notebooks since 1999 and began selling four color plates for notebooks last fall. But the company has never offered so many colors or such unusual shades or, in some cases, textures (Black Leather, for example).

Because a notebook often becomes an extension of its owner, Dell said, it decided to create a way to better reflect personal taste.

Cars and phones offer custom colors, so why not notebooks, asked Michele Khim, a Dell product marketing manager.

"All of those items come with a wide selection of colors and shapes. We thought there was no reason that PCs should be any different," she said.

The color kits, priced at $49, will allow a customer to add color to the top of the case and to the palm rest.

Dells new $1,229 Inspiron 4100 includes an 866MHz Intel Pentium III-M chip, 128MB of RAM, a 10GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive and a 14.1-inch display. With a faster processor, more memory and higher-resolution screen, the notebook tops $2,200.

The new color plates can also be used with Dell's older Inspiron 4000.

Apple Computer kicked off the colored computer craze in 1998 with the introduction of its iMac desktop computer. It later introduced the iBook, a laptop offering a choice between one of two color accents, blue or orange, in 1999.