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Dell offers tablet solution to the channel

Device is ideal for both consumer and SMB use thanks to an innovative flip hinge feature

Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) will launch its new Inspiron Duo convertible tablet device designed for the SMB market in Canada next year.

The “unique, first-of its kind design in the industry,” according to Dell’s David Zavelson, senior manager for product marketing and ultramobile devices, allows users to switch between a tablet and keyboard interface within a matter of “seconds” thanks to the product’s flip hinge design.

When in its tablet form, the Inspiron Duo is ideal from a media consumption standpoint. With a 10.1-inch high definition display, an Intel Atom Dual Core N550 and Windows 7 Home Premium installed on the device, the unit meets the needs of families with children who want that highly mobile capability and touch-immersive experience to interact with content. At the same time, the device also provides the functionality and productivity of a PC, so users can have the best of both form-factors, Zavelson said.

Small business users can use this device both at home and at work for entertainment and work purposes, he added. With a full multi-touch tablet environment, Zavelson said there will likely be “more third party applications made available for touch-based environments that businesses can take advantage of.”

For its channel community, having a device with dual form factor capabilities presents a unique customer opportunity, Zavelson said.

“Having a device like this is truly unique with a crossover between a tablet and notebook,” he said. “For the reseller partner, this is a very compelling offering to have in their lineup.”

In addition to being able to use the Inspiron Duo’s touch and type capabilities, a third way to interact with the device is thru the optional docking station, Zavelson said.

Once plugged in to the docking unit, the Inspiron Duo can be re-charged while it goes into alarm clock mode, or when it’s being used as a digital picture frame that cylces thru photos. The dock also has a set of built-in JBL speakers to provide users with an enhanced media player experience. The battery life for the device is benchmarked at three hours and 57 minutes, Zavelson said.

The Inspiron Duo is set for a Canadian release date at the end of January 2011. Zavelson said the plan is to have this device “offered as broadly as possible,” which means it will be available thru all of Dell’s traditional channels.

Other features of the Inspiron Duo include: a built-in 1.3 megapixel Webcam, Wireless 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 combo card capabilities, 2GB of RAM, an integrated Intel NM10 video card and more.

Canadian pricing is not yet available for the Inspiron Duo, but US pricing is as follows, $549.99 for the unit and $649.99 for the device and the audio docking station.

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.