Dell Latitude Z Laptop

Dell Latitude Z

Dell Latitude Z

Dell Laptop Tries to Impress Impression Makers – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com.

Dell Latitude Z Product Details – Dell.com.

I don’t think I will ever be the target market for this (from!) $1,999 super-laptop from Dell. I’m happy with what I have. (See how Buddhist I am getting living in Thailand?)

It’s only got a 64GB (solid-state) drive! I’d fill that with pictures in a couple of weeks. I wonder how the performance of a solid-state drive compares with the old rotating sort. I guess it uses the same technology as camera memory cards.

But a fact from the article amazed me. Essentially there are two computers in this thin box. It’s a regular Windows Vista PC but it also has an “instant on” mode.

The software fires up the moment you open the laptop and connects right to a wireless network without Windows.

(Under the hood, it’s Linux running on top of an ARM chip on a mini-motherboard that provides this quick access feature. You’re basically talking about most of the components needed to run an iPhone being hitched to a large battery. So, the computer can run in instant-on mode for days.)

Some users Dell surveyed spent 70 percent of their time working in the instant-on mode. Microsoft is sure to take note of that figure. Windows has turned into a clunky, cup holder.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Steve Ballmer heard about this. In the bad old days I am sure Microsoft would not have permitted a Windows bypass like that. It shows how Microsoft’s industry power has declined. Perhaps the anti-trust lawsuits in the US and the EU have done some good.

But it seems a heck of a lot of work for Dell to provide the functionality. I guess long battery life was a major goal, else why not dual-boot the primary processor into the quick start mode?

It seems over engineered to me. A lot more to overheat and go wrong. Perhaps Dell has some former HP engineers working for them. It’s the kind of solution we’d have come up with.

I wonder if they approached Microsoft to provide a quick-boot option in Windows 7. After all they used to claim that IE was so tightly bound into the OS it could never be un-bundled. Couldn’t you construct a minimal boot that loads IE in a few seconds?

But the NY Times to describe Windows, Windows! as a “clunky cup-holder” must have caused Steve’s life insurers to re-evaluate his premiums.

I bet Google wishes it could have got the Chrome OS onto the Latitude Z. I wonder if that sort of application is one of their design goals.

Competition is surely a wonderful thing.

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4 Responses to “Dell Latitude Z Laptop”

  1. Patryk Says:

    Instant on Windows is impossible; it simply can’t be done. And this is a lot more than an instant web browser. Linux an ARM runs is the backend for a surprising number of devices, and is only growing. But the key to note here is that Dell now has a very valuable bargaining chip against MS in negotiating OEM licensing fees; this could get interesting.

  2. BKKPhotographer Says:

    Thanks. Clearly i was naive to glean too much from a brief article in the Times. Still, when you say it’s impossible I’m mindful of the reaction we learned to impossible requests from managers: “Anything’s possible, Phil, it’s a Simple Matter of Programming”.

  3. Patryk Says:

    Windows would need some serious overhaul (to the point of starting over on some stripped-down kernel) before it could boot on anywhere near instantly with today’s hardware.

  4. BKKPhotographer Says:

    You are right of course. But I hope Microsoft is working to address the need customers have for tools that are not drowning in their own complexity.

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