Dell plans to toss the mercury-laden cold cathode fluorescent lamp technology used today for light-emitting diode, or LED, back lighting. Environmentally destructive mercury adds to the difficulty of recycling notebooks.
In addition, LED screens consume an average of 43% less power at maximum brightness, according to Dell. The company estimates that in 2010 and 2011, its customers will save $20 million and 220 million kilowatt-hours of power with LED displays. That's equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions from energy use of more than 10,000 homes, Dell said. CO2 emissions have been identified as a contributor to global warming.
Effective Dec. 15 of this year, Dell plans to ship two-thirds of its E-family line of Latitude notebooks with LED back lighting as a standard feature. The models include the E4200, E4300, E6400, E6400 ATG, and E6500. In addition, the technology will become a standard feature in the Dell Precision M2400 and M4400 mobile workstations.
By the end of 2009, Dell plans to ship LED displays with at least 80% of all its notebooks, reaching 100% in 2010.
In its announcement, Dell did not mention whether switching to LED technology would make future notebooks more expensive. Analysts say corporations, which make up a large portion of Dell sales, are attracted to the idea of helping the environment, but also look for the economic benefits in implementing so-called "green" technology.
"Economics drives decisions," Rob Enderle, principal at Enderle Group, said during a session last week at the InformationWeek 500 Conference. "Often when economics and green run into each other head to head, green loses. When it makes economic sense, green resonates."
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