Dell just demonstrated its upcoming 10-inch Inspiron Duo convertible netbook/tablet. Based on the dual core Atom N550 the Inspiron Duo runs Windows 7 Premium. The system can work as a tablet:

The demo seemed quite slow and touch screen was very unresponsive (typical of Atom running Windows 7 on netbook hardware). When you need a full keyboard however the tablet can open up, screen swivel around (the bezel remains in place) and you get a standard netbook:

I actually played with a prototype of the Inspiron Duo earlier this year and the conversion mechanism felt pretty solid. Dell expects it to be shipping by the end of this year.

Check out our full gallery of the Inspiron Duo here.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • bupkus - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    I need to see about getting my Dell laptop fixed.
  • OBLAMA2009 - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    i was hoping for better performance with the new dual core netbooks
  • LTG - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    If an Atom is faster (or close) in performance to an ARM9, then why does the performance of this tablet seem sluggish compared to an iPad?


    It would be very interesting to how these rank as contributing to the problem:
    - Windows 7 is larger and in general doing more things than iOS?
    - The Dell GPU is weaker than the iPad GPU?
    - The dell uses little moving parts for storage (5400rpm drive), and the iPad uses flash memory

  • jordanclock - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    It is definitely slower because of Windows 7. Win7 might be too multi-purpose. iOS is very stripped down compared to OSX, which it shares a significant codebase with. Microsoft would need a real retuning of Windows to fit it into the tablet market. Their new phone OS is for devices smaller and Windows is for everything bigger.

    The GPU issue is not much of an issue. The GPU on the A4 and Intel's GPUs aren't too different in performance. Features, yes. Performance, no.

    And the moving parts could be a hinderance to battery life, but it will have vastly more storage space than an iPad.

    This is definitely a device that tries to have the best of both worlds: Netbook performance, storage, and when necessary, keyboard, but with the option for simplified interface of a tablet when wanted. It's not a new niche, but it's a difficult one to get right.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - link

    Big difference between ARM9 (instruction set) and ARM Cortex A9.
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - link

    The iPad is actually just a single core A8. But iOS doesn't have real multitasking (even in 4), and is way stripped down compared to a full OS, so I guess that's why it can feel faster.
  • Minion4Hire - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    I've never really been able to get into the tablet craze. There have been so many people trying to get it right, and occasional joyous testimonials from users claiming "these guys got it" but I've yet to see anything that really impressed me.

    In the case of the Inspiron Duo I don't see how an Atom processor improves the tablet experience in any way besides making it cheaper; Cheaper + crappier doesn't exactly make for a convincing argument. I kind of like the flip screen concept as opposed to the traditional swivel bit, but I can't help but think that people are going to be severely disappointed with it.
  • melgross - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    No matter what, I just don't see how Win 7 will work on a tablet. It didn't work before on larger convertible models, and they had 10 years to try. With these low power chips, it seems even worse. So, what's changed?

    It seems as though MS just wants to move Windows to everything no matter what. I don't see how this is going to compete with the iPad, or the Android or Chrome models coming up later.

    You really can't use most software. It has to mostly be specialized stuff written for this. So where's the real software advantage? There doesn't seem to be any.

    Anyone have an idea of the resolution? It looks almost like 16:9, if so, is it 1024 x 600. Seems too low for a modern Windows GUI and programs (I'm trying not to say "apps").
  • steelgrass - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    I bought a Asus TM101 for my wife, which is very similar to this Dell. It was sold with the maximum memory an Atom can handle. That was because it was said to be near useless without the RAM. Regardless, it was still a slug. It was so slow it rendered the touch interface near useless. In the end I thought I would give Ubuntu Netbook remix a try. Linux worked well enough on the 701 which hardware wise was a dog, so I thought there was some hope. But not much, as I though wife would complain about the new interface.

    Talk about a turn around. After the obligatory hassles with finding what drivers to use on the forums, the thing was crisp. All the hardware worked. Touch gestures line pinch to zoom and two finger scrolling worked. Turned out she preferred the simplified network remix interface over the native Windows 7 one. In retrospect that is not so surprising, as the Windows interface is designed to work best with the higher resolution screens that are common on PC's nowadays. Unlike the various Linux desktop's, Microsoft seems unwilling to redesign their interface for different size displays. I recall having being initially delighted at the idea of having a "Start" button on my phone, but that came to an abrupt end about one week after owning a WinCE phone. If Microsoft doesn't get it for something as obvious as a phone, it is unlikely they will ever get it for a network.

    Anyway when I put Ubuntu on I insisted she try it for at least a week. At the end of the week I asked my wide if she wanted to go back to how it was before. She looked at me like I was mad.

    The bottom line is these devices more than powerful enough to run a real general purpose operating system, do work processing, have 20 web pages open and play the biggest flash games. They just aren't powerful enough to run Windows 7.
  • rvd2008 - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    looks like crap, works like crap... no wonder Apple is a king of the hill
    How on Earth Microsoft managed to fukup so badly in just 10 years?

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now