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Dell's Aims New Tablet PC At Small And Midsize Companies

At the unveiling of Dell's new Latitude XT tablet PC last nite, I was told that the time was finally right for tablets to find a home in general applications in smaller companies. I'm not buying it.
At the unveiling of Dell's new Latitude XT tablet PC last nite, I was told that the time was finally right for tablets to find a home in general applications in smaller companies. I'm not buying it.And, I suspect, neither will most small and midsize companies.

Sure, the device is way cool. As Antone Gonsalves points out in InformationWeek, the Latitude XT weighs 3.5 pounds and features a 12.1-inch daylight-viewable screen. (In the darkened balcony of the restaurant where the rollout was held, the screen blazed like searchlight.) In a few minutes of playing with the machine, I thought the touch screen worked great - even when you didn't actually touch it!

Dell rep David Lord tried to explain that new technology like Windows Vista and available 32GB and 64GB flash-based hard-drives coupled with a new generation of tech-savvy corridor cruisers would finally push tablets out of the field-worker ghetto and into the hands of mainstream office workers.

But at a starting price of $2,500 for a standard 1GB of memory, 1.06GHz Intel Core 2 Solo ULV processor U2100, and regular 40GB hard drive, most companies will have to demonstrate a specific need for tablet functionality before springing for one of these babies.

Like most gadget freaks, I'd take one in a heartbeat. But not if it comes out of my budget.

So, while large enterprises might find enough slack in their bottom lines to afford Dell's latest toy, smaller companies watching their pennies are likely to continue taking a pass on tablets. And much as I hate to say it, that's probably the right move.