A Closer Look At The Dell Latitude 2100

The Dell Latitude 2100 netbook represents an expansion of the company's business-class offerings with an eye toward the education market. Designed for student use, these netbooks come in five different colors and are built with a rubberized case. That case is leading Dell to tout the netbooks as "student rugged," meaning they can withstand the wear and tear a typical child would inflict on them.

Enhancing The Educational Experience

The Latitude 2100 netbook is a 10.1-inch netbook designed to run relatively light applications such as Web browsing, e-mail and Web-based software.

It comes preloaded with a choice of Microsoft Windows XP Home, Microsoft Vista Home Basic or Linux Ubuntu. The netbook is powered by the Intel Atom N270 processor and includes Gigabit Ethernet connectivity coupled with a full suite of wireless communication options.

The new netbook offering from Dell was built based on feedback the computer manufacturer received from students and teachers. The research showed that the needs of the educational market are somewhat different than those of a business environment. To make transportation of the Latitude 2100 easier, Dell offers optional kid-friendly quick-connect shoulder straps or handles to be attached to the netbook.

The Dell Mobile Computing Solution is a cart that acts as a sort of dock for the netbook. When a student leaves the classroom, the 2100s can be put into the cubbylike holes on the cart, which can then be locked for security. In addition, the Mobile Computing Solution can plug into a data connection, turning the cart into a Wi-Fi hot spot that allows the students in the classroom to access the Web.

For a teacher, maintaining control of a classroom and keeping students on track is an important part of the job. Because students are being granted some autonomy with the Latitude 2100, Dell has devised a way to keep the kids from surfing the Web at inappropriate times. An indicator light has been built into the chassis of the netbook, which turns on when the machine is connected to the Web. Dell refers to this indicator as the "Tattle Tale Light."

One feature that a school district can add will help make classrooms less of a germ incubator. An optional anti-microbial keyboard is a clever idea that will cut down on the number of germs that accumulate on the Latitude 2100. It seems that it only takes one sick student to make the rest of the class ill, so Dell is doing its best to help fight that problem in a shared computing environment.