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Dell bulks up its low end with tablet and convertible updates

Venue and Inspiron lines get boost from processor refresh and Ubuntu offerings

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Dell has delivered a kick in the pants to its Venue tablets and Inspiron convertibles with the addition of new processors and configuration options.

Additionally, new accessories for the tablets and the option for Ubuntu OS configurations on the convertibles were unveiled as part of the rollout at the Computex show in Taipei.

The company said that both the seven and eight-inch Venue tablets would receive chips based on Intel's Atom "Merrifield" platform, the Venue 7 running a dual-core Z3460 and the Venue 8 sporting a Z3480. The 64-bit mobile processor line from Chipzilla will ship with Android 4.4 Kit Kat.

The Venue 7 and Venue 8 tablets, priced at $159 and $199 respectively, will get the new processors as well as new display hardware and a slimmed-down design, Dell says. Both tablets will be available beginning July 1. For the Venue 8, the update will also bring the addition of a wireless charging dock, dubbed the "Venue Cradle", though no release date for the dock was given.

Meanwhile, the Inspiron line of hybrid tablet-notebook systems will receive their own processor updates. For the Inspiron 11 3000, Dell will use either Intel Pentium quad-core or Celeron dual-core notebook chips, while the Inspiron 13 7000 will offer a choice of Core i3 and i5 processors.

The systems, which use a rotating hinge to convert from a standard clamshell configuration to a flat tablet layout, will be available with either Windows 8.1 or Ubuntu preinstalled, though the Inspiron 11 7000 will only offer Ubuntu in the APJ and EMEA regions, according to Dell's technical spec sheet (PDF).</>

Dell said that it plans to ship the Inspiron 11 3000 on June 19 with a starting price of $449. Those holding out for the Inspiron 13 7000 will have to wait until September.

Finally, for desktop users, the company has added an entry-level all-in-one dubbed the Inspiron 20 3000 series. Designed as a semi-portable family system, the 19.5in Celeron- or Pentium-powered system was touted by Dell as being light enough to move about the house for use in various rooms. Like the notebooks, the all-in-one will offer a choice of Windows 8.1 or Ubuntu.

Dell's update comes as Intel is making a push to restore some confidence in a PC market which continues to take losses. Intel, which stands to take a substantial hit should Dell and other traditional PC vendors continue to lose market share at the hands of ARM-based tablets, has championed all-in-one and convertible tablets as of late. ®

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