updated 10:05 am EDT, Tue October 27, 2009
Dell intros first multi-touch rugged tablet
After only a brief tease, Dell today formally unveiled the Latitude XT2 XFR. It's characterized as the first rugged convertible tablet to use capacitive multi-touch and is seen as ideal for use outdoors or at work where natural gestures, such as pinching to zoom into a map or flicking to scroll through a page, are more preferable to a pen. It nonetheless still works with a stylus and has a more outdoor-ready display that's more readily viewable in broad daylight.
As an XFR model, the tablet meets the US military's 810F specs for dust, shock, temperature and water resistance -- including drops from up to three feet up -- and brings toughened features such as covered ports and a high-powered cooling system that can better cope with heat and dust. One option gives it a backlit rubber keyboard that can resist liquids but still remain viewable in the dark.
A 2-megapixel camera is also a choice, as is a Qualcomm Gobi chip to provide 3G over either EVDO or HSPA.
Unusually, Dell has decided to stay with Windows Vista Business as the most recent operating system for the XT2 XFR and is still pre-installing Windows XP Tablet Edition by default. Hardening the Latitude tablet brings its price up to $3,599 for a system with an ultra-low voltage 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, Intel GMA 4500 graphics and an external read-only DVD drive. It can scale up to 5GB of RAM, a 128GB solid-state drive and a DVD burner.