Dell Adds Ubuntu To Tablet And 2-And-1 Inspiron Lineup


Dell doubled down on its open-source strategy, revealing that tablets and Inspiron 2-and-1 notebooks would be available with the latest Ubuntu 14.04 LTS version of Linux.

According to Dell, which unveiled the devices from the Computex 2014 trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, the Ubuntu OS will be the first version of software that can be used on touch devices and desktop PCs interchangeably. Dell business partners and analysts said the new devices likely will appeal to overseas companies and those looking to save money.

For Windows shops that hold volume licenses, they can avoid paying $30 to $50 in Windows licensing fees to Microsoft if they buy hardware running the open-source Ubuntu version of Linux, said Jeff Purcell, owner of Purcell Consulting Group, a Dell partner based in Denver. He said they can later install Windows 8.1 on devices, allowing them to save significantly on the OS.

Related: Dell Introduces Android And Windows Pro Tablets

Dell is offering an 11.6-inch screen Inspiron 11 3000 and an Inspiron 13 7000, which has a 13-inch screen. Both are hybrid notebooks that turn into a tablet when the screen is rotated 360 degrees. Both 2-and-1s can be configured with either Windows 8 or Ubuntu.

According to media reports from Computex, Dell also is showing off tablets running the newest Ubuntu OS (code-named Trusty Tahr).

“Ubuntu has an appeal outside of the U.S. [that] I don’t think many here in the U.S. realize,” said Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. “As more compute shifts from the client to the cloud, the operating system becomes less important. In China and emerging markets, shaving licensing fees becomes a very attractive option.”

Kay said that Dell’s dive into the open-source world keeps the enterprise PC maker's appeal to shops that are looking for Windows alternatives and can add Linux to a growing list of options that include Chrome OS and Android.

The Inspiron 11 3000 series 2-in-1, equipped with a 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution touch display,  ships with either Intel Celeron or Pentium quad-core processors and integrated Intel graphics. Weighing in at 1.39 kilograms, the laptop has an advertised eight hours of battery life. The Inspiron 11 3000 series 2-in-1 will be available starting June 19 and has a retail price of $450.

The Inspiron 14 7000 series 2-in-1 ships with Intel’s 4th generation Intel i3 or i5 Core processors. The 7000 weighs 1.7 kilograms and includes upscale features such as a backlit keyboard and a 13.3-inch LED backlit 1,920 x 1,080 display. The premium model also includes a built-in passive stylus. Dell has not released pricing, but availability begins September. 

This latest version of Ubuntu, according to analysts, not only focuses on tablet and touch devices, but also hyperscale and cloud applications. The OS also gives IT professionals an alternative OS to run on Windows 8.1 tablet devices including Surface.

Also, as part of its Computex blitz of mobile gear, Dell rolled out thinner versions of its Venue 7 and 8 Android tablets featuring Intel’s Atom Z3460 (the Venue 7 is priced at $160) and Z3480 (the Venue 8 is priced at $180) processors. It also introduced Dell UltraSharp UZ2715H, UZ2315H and UZ2215H multimedia monitors. Monitor pricing ranges from $270 to $450.

PUBLISHED JUNE 2, 2014