Dell Inspiron Duo Tablet-Netbook 'Coming Soon'

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Is it just me, or does it sound like they're saying "iPad" in this video of Dell's Inspiron Duo?

Probably just me. But there is a pinch of Apple in the teaser for Dell's acrobatic tablet-netbook. The white backdrop. The plain black text. The trendy, boppy music. Replace the Inspiron Duo with an iPad and it wouldn't seem out of place.

Still, the Inspiron Duo is unique, not just another iPad wannabe. It has a clamshell design that can fold open and act just like a normal Windows netbook. But you can also swivel the 10-inch screen around and close the lid, and suddenly the Inspiron Duo is a tablet, albeit a chunky one. A docking station from JBL will give the tablet better audio and an upright stance for video.

A lot of the details on Dell's Inspiron Duo are still unknown. A September report from Engadget says the computer has a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor and runs Windows 7 Premium. You'll have to wait for the word on RAM, storage and other features.

The video's YouTube description says the Inspiron Duo will be available on by the end of the year.

I like the convertible tablet-netbook concept, at least in theory. It was cool when Lenovo showed its IdeaPad U1 hybrid at CES this year, and Dell's execution is still interesting even if the tablet doesn't completely detach from the body.

Dell's challenge, however, is to include a touch screen interface that works better than vanilla Windows 7. (Lenovo, after all, delayed the U1 until 2011 when it realized its own interface wouldn't be as suitable as Android.) The Inspiron Duo video shows a custom interface when in tablet form -- I see icons for photos, videos, books, games, painting, and the Internet -- but again, it's not the whole picture.

With less than two months until New Years, we'll get the whole story soon enough.

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