Dell unveils ruggedized Latitude laptops, built for the battlefield and school yard

By Doug Olenick, Tech Times | April 2, 9:14 AM

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Dell Latitude 13

Dell has rolled out a couple of Latitude laptops that can not only survive in a war zone, but not break down while being handled by what some might call an even tougher user - school children. To prove how tough these laptops are Dell showed them off operating in an arctic environment during a press conference held in New York.
(Photo : Doug Olenick)

Everyone knows school can be a rough and tumble environment, but Dell believes its new Latitude Rugged Extreme 12 and Latitude 14 laptops introduced today can stand up to any schoolyard bully. Even one with sticky fingers.

Dell also introduced a cart to store and move tablets along with a new classroom projector, all geared toward the education market.

"With presence in more than 400,000 classrooms around the world, our goal and focus is to encourage the type of learning environment that allows students and teachers to tap their creativity and ultimately enrich the learning experience for students," said Jon Phillips, managing director, worldwide education, Dell. "We're excited to add this new solutions portfolio to our education ecosystem and we're very motivated to hear how our customers are using this technology to help teaching and learning evolve further."

Dell's laptops is ready for almost anything a young student can do. It features a rubberized LCD base and trim to protect against drops and being banged around, along with constructing its 13.3- inch display out of Corning Gorilla glass. A touchscreen version is also available.

In case the laptops are used during snack time they have a fully sealed keyboard and touchpad to protect against spilled milk and sticky fingers.

To top it off Dell subjected the laptops to military-standard testing, the company said, and teachers will know when students are online via a "tattle" light that turns on when the computer connects to the local network.

Except for screen and battery size the 12 and 14 have the same specifications: 

  • Fourth-generation Intel Corei3, i5 and i7 dual-core processors
  • Windows 8.1 Pro (64-bit) or Genuine Windows 7 Professional (64-bit); Optional Windows 8.1 (64-bit), Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate (64 or 32-bit), Linux Ubuntu 12.04
  • 2 DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB 1600MHz DDR3LChipset Mobile Intel Lynx chipset
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 (i3/i5) or Intel HD Graphics 5000 (i7);Optional NVIDIA
  • GeForce GT 720M (DDR3 2GB) discrete graphics with Optimus
  • 128GB, 256GB or 512GB mobility solid state drives; Optional 256GB mSATA SED SSD 

The Latitude comes in red and blue with a starting price of $539.

The Dell Mobile Computing cart can hold up to 30 mobile computers with screen sizes up to 14-inches and is designed to not only move them safely about a school, but also handles charging duties. It's now available with an optional upgrade kit for docking laptops to Ethernet and power, which makes overnight IT updates a snap and eliminates the need to manually plug in cables, the company said.

The cart carries a $3,999 price tag.

Dell's Interactive Projector-S520, features multi-touch capabilities, Intel Wireless Display, Miracast technology and advanced wireless functions for classrooms and conference rooms. The S520 combines features of interactive whiteboards and interactive LCD displays into one solution. The projector costs $4,129.

Also part of Dell's educational product portfolio is the previously launched Chromebook 11. This model features an 11.6-inch display, Intel Core processors and since they all run Chrome apps can easily be pushed out to a school's entire fleet, the company said. Pricing was not available for the Chromebook.

The Dell Venue Windows 8 tablet allows students and teachers to both consume and create content. Dell's software allows teachers to use the tablet as a mobile interactive whiteboard.

The Dell Interactive Projector - S520 starts at $4,129 and is also available now.

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