Designed for the corporate market, the new Latitude will measure around an inch thick and weigh approximately 3 pounds. Unlike other Dell notebooks, the computer will not use an Intel Pentium II processor. Instead, it will come with a 266-MHz Pentium MMX "Tillamook" chip from Intel.
Dell's ultraslim Latitude will come in a powder-blue case made partly of magnesium. Other vendors are also using magnesium, although some are using more expensive carbon shells. It will cost around $2,000, sources said.
One of the inspirations for the computer was Sony's well-received Vaio notebook, said Carl Everett, senior vice president at Dell. The Latitude will differ from the Vaio, however, in that will come with a keyboard close to standard size. The Vaio's keyboard is a membrane keyboard and is fairly small.
Although it has stopped shipping MMX chips for desktops, Intel is continuing the line for ultraslim notebooks. The chip is both fairly inexpensive and, more importantly, runs on less power than Pentium II chips, which saves on battery life. A 300-MHz Pentium MMX chip will come out in the first quarter, which may become incorporated into the line later, said sources.
The computer will come with the biggest screen in the ultraslim class, said Dell. The initial ultraslim Latitude will come with an 11-inch screen while later versions will come with a 12-inch version, sources said.
As reported earlier, a number of low budget notebooks will arrive in the first part of the year when Intel releases its first versions of its low-budget Celeron chips for notebooks. The 266-MHz and 300-MHz versions of Celeron will result in notebooks in the sub-$1,500 range and eventually $999 notebooks, said Paul Otellini, executive vice president of Intel, at the Intel analyst meeting last week.
While Celeron chips are primarily known for being low-cost, the chips could fuel a supply of relatively cheap slimline portables, according to, among other executives, Rich Archuleta of Hewlett-Packard's notebook division. Celeron processors contain 128KB of integrated cache memory. Most Pentium II chips, by contrast, have chip cache that comes on a different piece of silicon. As a result, Celeron chips consume less power and dissipate less heat, which means smaller computers with less thermal insulation can be built around them.
Advanced Micro Devices will also be releasing the K6-3, a 450-MHz chip with 256KB of integrated cache, for notebooks in the first quarter.
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