Dell, HP, Lenovo Add Pizzazz to Commercial PCs
(Pictured above: The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1.)
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW — Commercial laptops are popular for their enterprise-grade security and management but have historically lacked the pizzazz of comparably configured, premium consumer PCs. The leading vendors are stepping up in 2019 with sleeker commercial systems.
Dell, HP and Lenovo have borrowed from their premium consumer PCs by adding improved ergonomics and including high-definition displays, enhanced audio and other integrated peripherals delivered in smaller and lighter form factors. Partners are getting a glimpse of the new pipeline of commercial PCs at this week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Powered with Intel’s 8th Generation Core CPUs, the latest commercial systems address modern enterprise-mobility requirements with new hardware and software-based security and privacy features, enhanced collaboration capabilities, support for gigabit-speed wireless broadband and improved battery life.
These refinements come amid anticipation that demand for PCs will grow, albeit moderately, after a slight resurgence last year that followed a long period of declining growth. Increased PC demand is typically a positive sign for partners – whether or not they resell them – in that they are a harbinger of enhanced services opportunities.
Buoying optimism that PC demand will rise, despite current economic uncertainties stemming from U.S. tariffs on imported goods and increases in component costs, is that mainstream support for Windows 7 will end in one year.
Dell is completely revamping its flagship Latitude line with a newly engineered, 7400 convertible 2-1 PC, which the company argues is the “smallest” commercial 14-inch system in that size category. While such claims are fluid, the company said the new 7400 is one-quarter smaller than its predecessor and now weighs just 3 pounds.
The company was able to shed some weight and mass from the systems by dispensing with the thick bezels of its predecessors, including last year’s Latitudes. While the bezels – nor the system itself – on the new Latitude aren’t quite as thin as on the XPS 13 – Dell’s premium consumer laptop that’s popular with business customers – they comes close.
Allen McKittrick, the Dell engineer who redesigned the Latitude, said the company revamped every aspect of the Latitude.
“When I started, I wanted this to be the first 14-inch 2-in-1 with four-sided narrow borders,” McKittrick said. “That, in itself, set the bar in terms of how big this system is going to be.”
The new Latitude 7400 is made with a new Titan Gray aluminum, has curved edges and a magnesium alloy undercover. To create the four-sided narrow bezel, the device has a drop hinge and a new thermal design footprint using material called GORE to enable optimal wireless antennae placement.
In addition to paring down the size of the system, McKittrick had to find a place for some noteworthy new features, including the first proximity sensor to use Intel Context Sensing Technology, which can detect the presence of a user.
Also, the new Latitude provides Dell’s new ExpressSign-In feature, which uses the proximity sensor to wake the PC and immediately activates the IR camera to invoke Windows Hello to authenticate with facial recognition. ExpressSign also automatically locks the system when the user steps away.
Dell claims the new Latitude supports up to 24 hours of runtime on a single charge, when using the 78Whr battery and support for Cat 16 gigabit LTE, which will enable 1 Gbps download speeds. The new system is slated to ship in early …