A 10-inch slate tablet seemed imminent when news broke that Dell had an iPad rival on the way, but that turned out not to be the case. The 5-inch Dell Streak was their first attempt, but ended up being more smartphone than tablet. Its second attempt—the Dell Inspiron Duo ($549.99 direct)—isn't even close. Although it is a novel take on a netbook convertible tablet, it's anything but an iPad rival. It features a cleverly designed flip hinge that exposes (and conceals) a physical keyboard, and is one of the few netbook tablets that run on an Intel Atom processor and a full blown Windows 7 operating system. Although it sports one of the most innovative designs we've seen in a while, the Inspiron Duo is no threat as a touch device to any tablet and completely misses as a netbook.
Once again the innovation of the iPad creators has caused everyone to salivate at the mouth for a bite of the Apple. As such, tablets have become the hot ticket this year, though many of which failed to be worthy of being mentioned in the iPad’s presence (we’re looking at you, Archos.) However, there have been some tablets commendable enough to be spoken in the same breath as Apple’s pad, and the Dell Inspiron Duo aims to not only share that airspace, but one-up it as well.
The Inspiron Duo is a “tri-mode” device. This means that it is all at once a laptop complete with a keyboard and 10.1-inch display; a movie screen with an optional dock; and a touch-screen tablet separate from the laptop design.
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