Dell starts taking orders for the Inspiron Duo

After last week's coverage, few secrets about Dell's Inspiron Duo remain. Still, we'd be remiss not to point out that a product page for the convertible netbook has appeared on Dell's website, and that the company has started taking orders. The order configurator quotes a "preliminary ship date" of December 15, so if you order soon, you might just be able to get one of these puppies in time for Christmas.

Despite what we heard last week, Dell only appears to offer a single configuration: priced at $549.99, it packs an Atom N550 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 320GB 7,200-RPM hard drive, and a 29 Wh battery. Oh, and since we didn't know last time, the machine weighs in at 3.39 lbs and has a thickness of 1.03" to 1.13".

I don't want to be a buzzkill, but $550 sounds awfully pricey for a half-netbook, half-slate with probably worse battery life than either type of device. To put things in perspective, 29 Wh is about half the battery capacity Asus' Eee PC 1015PN needed to stay up for 7.3 hours in our web surfing test (with the discrete GPU powered off). My guess is the Inspiron Duo would be lucky to breach the four-hour mark. You know what they say—jack of all trades, master of none...

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