Dell Launches Studio Laptop Line for Consumers

Dell on Thursday launching the new Studio laptop line with new cases that add color to a laptop lineup that sported a predominantly industrial look.

The desktop-replacement Studio 15 and Studio 17 laptops will be available in seven colors, said John New, a senior manager of global consumer marketing at Dell. With prices starting at US$799, the laptop line is sandwiched between the budget Inspiron line and the high-end XPS line.

Studio 15 comes with a 15.4-inch screen, with prices starting at $799. Studio 17 comes with a 17-inch screen, with prices starting at $999. The laptops include dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo processors, support for up to 4G bytes of memory and up to 320G bytes of hard-drive storage. The Studio 15 laptop will also be available with Advanced Micro Devices chips, but only at retail stores for now, New said.

Wireless 802.11 b/g networking is included on the laptops, with 802.11n available as an option. Users can also buy a card to connect to mobile broadband networks. The laptops include a Webcam and an 8-in-1 memory card reader. Users can select integrated graphics or a separate graphics card from ATI.

The laptop comes with Microsoft Windows Vista.

The weight of Studio 15 starts at 6.11 pounds (2.77 kilograms) and Studio 17 starts at 7.87 pounds (3.57 kg).

Dell has added new software to the system, including Dell Dock, a simplified menu system that groups files based on type, like video, productivity and audio files. That categorizing of files helps maintain a more orderly desktop, New said. Dell is also including new video chat software.

The laptops will be available worldwide through Dell's Web site or retail stores.

After losing market share to rival Hewlett-Packard, Dell has seen an uptick in its market share as it moves from direct sales through its Web site to selling laptops through retail stores. Dell didn't have a retail strategy a year earlier, when it showed weak PC shipment growth.

Dell gained ground on HP in the first quarter of 2008, growing shipments 21.6 percent year-over-year to 10.9 million units, according to IDC. HP shipped 13.3 million PCs worldwide, a 17.4 percent year-over-year increase.

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