Dell to unveil new wide-screen notebooks

Two new business notebooks will take advantage of wide-screen displays and cellular networks. Photos: Dell's wide-screen laptops on display

Dell is set to introduce business notebooks with cellular broadband connections and wide-screen displays at an event Tuesday evening in New York, according to sources.

Notebook enthusiast sites have been buzzing with talk about the new Latitudes for weeks. Dell will officially unveil the Latitude D620 and D820 in the evening and formally announce them Wednesday, said the sources, who are familiar with the company's plans.

Dell wide-screen notebooks

The new notebooks have been updated with Intel's Core Duo processor. In addition, they will be available with a choice of wide-area network connection options through Cingular or Verizon in the U.S., or Vodafone in Europe, the sources said.

Notebooks with built-in connections to cellular networks have been launched by several vendors as business travelers--or their bosses--increasingly demand a constant connection to the Internet.

Wide-screen displays have been a prominent feature on consumer notebooks for several quarters, but they are starting to find their way into business notebooks such as the D620 and D820. The 4.4-pound D620 comes with a 14.1-inch wide-screen display, while the 5.6-pound D820 features a 15.4-inch-wide display.

Business customers will appreciate the ability to see larger portions of a spreadsheet without moving the cursor, as well as the full-size keyboard that can be included on smaller notebooks that previously required a compact keyboard, said Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies. Of course, they'll also like watching a movie on a wide screen during a long cross-country flight "without the guy in front of you in coach crushing the lid," he said.

Dell declined to comment on unannounced products. The D620 will start at $1,149, while the D820 starts at $1,289, sources said.