Dell Ships Flashy Inspiron Notebooks

SAN FRANCISCO (03/02/2000) - Dell Computer Corp. gets more colorful Wednesday with the release of its Inspiron 3800 line of notebook PCs, which offers consumers many choices regarding processors, screen sizes, and notebook case colors.

The new line replaces the Inspiron 3700 series, and configurations are built to order.

One of the featured configurations is the Inspiron 3800 C450ST, which at $1499 is Dell's lowest-price Inspiron ever, says Ed Suwanjindar, a Dell spokesperson.

It runs on a 450-MHz Celeron processor and comes with 32MB of memory, a 4.8GB hard drive, a 24X CD-ROM drive, a 120MB SuperDisk drive, a V.90 modem, and a 12.1-inch active-matrix display. It runs Windows 98 Second Edition and includes Microsoft Works Suite 2000 with Money 2000 and Norton Antivirus 2000.

Like the other Inspirons, the 3800 comes in a choice of four colors: Midnight Grey, Tahoe Blue, Forest Green, or Sierra Maroon.

The Inspiron 3800 R500GT sells for $2179 and includes a 500-MHz Pentium III processor, 64MB of memory, a 6GB hard drive, a 24X CD-ROM drive, a 120MB SuperDisk drive, V.90 modem, and a 14.1-inch active-matrix display. It also runs Windows 98 SE and Norton Antivirus 2000, but steps up to Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition With Encarta.

Low Price, Pretty Colors

New colors aren't the only changes to the 3800, Suwanjindar says. Dell also added support for the latest Intel processors, including the new SpeedStep PIII chips running at speeds of up to 650 MHz. The built-in V.90 modem is a new option, too.

The line of notebooks also offers a service improvement: a one-year, next-business-day on-site warranty. Instead of the customer having to ship the product to Dell for repairs, the manufacturer sends out a technician. It's the first time the Inspiron's value line has offered an on-site warranty. The more expensive Inspiron 5000 and 7500 lines offer a similar, three-year warranty.

Dell has set its sights on selling more consumer notebooks, and a lower-price product is part of that plan, Suwanjindar says. However, the company won't likely break the $1000 price point, which some vendors do by offering passive-matrix displays. That price point involves too many product compromises for Dell, according to Suwanjindar.

The 3800 isn't Dell's first foray into colors: The 3700 was available in Tahoe Blue and Storm Grey. For the 3800, the company kept the blue, modified the grey to the new Midnight Grey, and added the other two colors, he says. These notebooks also have new silver accents. The wider color palette should help attract more of the home and small-office buyers Dell wants, Suwanjindar says.

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