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As the notebook PC market hots up, Dell Computer Corp says it’s looking to differentiate itself from the competition by segmenting its Latitude XPI and LM range into two separately branded lines. Dell has just launched what it now calls its Inspiron mobile line; the new brand name for what is effectively the Latitude LM series under a new guise. The Inspiron series is the latest to use Intel’s recently unveiled 233MHz mobile processor with MMX, and boast a 13.3 active-matrix display, 32Mb SDRAM, 2.1Gb hard drive, 20X CD-ROM drive and Neomagic Inc’s 128bit video graphics accelerator and 3D stereo surround card. Dell says it’s targeting sales forces and other users looking for portables with versatile multimedia capabilities that can be used in the field. The Latitude XPI keeps its name; and will be aimed at the corporate desktop replacement market, and at customers looking for office connectivity and a long-term product roadmap. The company says the renaming firms up its attempts over the last year to target products at specific market segments in line with its major competitors. According to International Data Corporation, Dell is now the fifth largest notebook vendor in the US on units sold; its notebook business grew 98% last quarter year on year. And, says IDC, Dell passed Compaq to become the biggest supplier of desktop personal computers to large and mid-sized US companies with 100 staff or more, with an 18.4% share over Compaq’s 16.5%. It also ranked first in desktop sales to federal and local government. The Inspiron line will be the first to use new technologies, said Dell, with customers waiting longer for the same technology to filter through to its Latitude range. It currently only offers the Inspiron in a 233MHz version, saying it won’t be offering a 200MHz version which it sees as a transitional product. The Dell Inspiron is shipping now and costs $4,000.

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CBR Staff Writer

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