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Dell debuts Latitude XT2 multitouch tablet

Windows XP and SSD options offered

Dell has officially announced its multitouch tablet PC, the Latitude XT2. The £1,299 laptop will be available with either Windows Vista or a Windows XP.

The XT2 is a convertible model, meaning it has a keyboard and can be used in the same way as a traditional laptop but the screen can also be swivelled round and back on itself so the touch-sensitive screen can be used as a tablet.

The convertible tablet will come with either a 1.2GHz 9300 or 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 9400 processor and has a 12.1in WXGA display. Memory configurations will go from 1GB to 5GB of DD3 RAM and Dell will offer a choice of 80GB or 120GB hard drive or a 64GB or 128GB SSD (solid state disk) flash memory.

The 1.64kg device is large enough to accommodate a full-size keyboard and a touchpad and scroll wheel. To activate the multitouch functions, there's a side switch, while a stylus pen can be used for drawing as an alternative to fingertip gestures.

Available in both the UK and the US from today, the Dell Latitude XT2 multitouch tablet should see users through up to 11 hours before the battery needs to be recharged. This figure is for the six-cell version of the machine; a four-cell battery is supplied on the standard £1,299 model.

Dell describes the sort of tasks that can be performed on the XT2's multitouch screen as ones involving pinching, scrolling, panning, rotating and zooming. Rather than needing tablet-specific applications (a criticism of some tablet PCs in the past), multitouch panels are designed for use with existing programs but with users interacting with them in a more 'natural' way.

Touchscreen displays have been a real hit with consumers, notably on the HP TouchSmart range as well as on mobile phones such as the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Storm.

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