Updated: Dell's minidesktop launching tomorrow

This post has been updated with pricing info.

The small form factor PC that Dell was talking up earlier this year will be released tomorrow.

The company posted a teaser video to its blog today.

Dell says the new Studio Hybrid is 80 percent smaller than a traditional PC and it will come in seven different colors. But here's some stuff that's not in the video: It will retail for $699 with a monitor, and $499 without, according to sources familiar with the product. And, although it's a desktop, it'll have Intel's latest mobile processor … Read more

Dell hints it's working on smartphone

It wasn't much more than an offhand comment this time, but Michael Dell's got the gadget-obsessed stirred up again.

In an interview with Om Malik of GigaOm, Dell was asked about the company's plans in the smartphone industry. At first he gave a vague, corporate PR-type answer: "We are certainly looking at the whole smartphone category, but I wouldn't expect anything anytime soon." But when Malik pressed him about whether his company was more interested in a Symbian or Android OS for any potential handheld device, Dell was slightly more informative.

"We're … Read more

Dell issues update for Nvidia graphics chip glitch

Update on July 27 at 10:00 a.m. with additional information

Dell has issued a system update for a well-publicized problem with Nvidia chips.

The company said Friday it has posted BIOS updates for an Nvidia graphics chip glitch affecting laptop computers. Citing Nvidia information, Dell said the "affected GPUs (graphics processing units) are experiencing higher than expected failure rates causing video problems."

"The issue is a weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with GPU temperature fluctuations. If your GPU fails, you may see intermittent symptoms," the Dell blog said.

Dell said the … Read more

Who really wants a tiny desktop?

You may have seen an article in The New York Times this weekend (registration required) on the subject of a new trend in small, cheap laptops and desktops. The story deals with the pressure PC makers face to make low-end, low-margin computers after the success of the Asus Eee PC mini laptop (or "Netbook" as they're called).

We can certainly see why laptop divisions of those companies might feel nervous. Traditionally, owning a laptop meant sacrificing power for portability and we'd wager that many people still hold to that notion (advances in gaming laptops notwithstanding). If … Read more

Dell goes for latest Ubuntu Linux: Hardy Heron

Dell is taking its Ubuntu Linux investment a step further by announcing plans to release the latest version of Ubuntu, Hardy Heron, on select Dell consumer systems. The open-source operating system will show up on XPS M1330N, Inspiron 1525N, and Inspiron 530N models for customers in the U.S., France, Germany, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom, and some Latin American countries.

In early August, the company will also add the XPS M1530n and Studio 15n to the Hardy Heron-enabled lineup, according to Dell's Direct2DellBlog.

Wal-Mart taps Dell for its own 'geek squad'

Already the biggest seller by volume of electronics in the U.S., some Wal-Mart stores are now trying their hand at tech support.

Starting this month in 15 stores around Dallas only, employees manning a new kiosk concept called Solutions Station by Dell will be available to do TV and home theater installations, PC repair, wireless network setup, and probably some other tech-related stuff too.

Dell and Wal-Mart have a pretty cozy relationship--Dell picked Wal-Mart as the first place to sell its PCs when the company started selling retail again last year--so the pairing isn't so surprising.

And this … Read more

IDC: Solid state drive, hard disk speed gap small

Dell will sell you a 128GB solid state drive for an unprecedented $649. But wait. An IDC report claims the performance gap between solid state drives and lower-cost high-performance hard disk drives is not that significant at the system level.

Solid state drives are attracting more scrutiny as they increase in capacity and decrease in price. (Dell's $649 drive is a radical price drop since many drives with half the capacity still sell for more than $700.)

Solid state drives (SSDs) are considered to be generally more power efficient, faster, and in some respects more reliable than hard disk … Read more

PC market laughs in the face of economic uncertainty

Despite concerns that a weakening U.S. economy would slow spending here and elsewhere, the PC market is chugging along respectably.

The market's success was foreshadowed Tuesday by Intel, whose solid quarter demonstrated that there's continued demand for notebook PCs particularly. Shipments of PCs worldwide grew 16 percent in the second quarter of this year, led by the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions, according to IDC. Shipments were down in the Asia-Pacific region, usually a strong market for growth, but the results were even worse in the U.S., where units shipped grew 3.6 percent, according … Read more

Dell faces class action lawsuit from workers

Computer maker Dell is now facing a class action lawsuit that alleges the company underpaid 5,000 call center employees.

A federal judge in the Oregon-filed case gave the lawsuit class-action status last week, according to an article in the Austin American Statesman. Any of the U.S. Dell call center employees who worked from February 8, 2004 to the present can now join the lawsuit to sue Dell as a group, according to the story.

The lawsuit was filed in February 2007 by two employees claiming they were not properly paid for overtime, training, or work preparation time, the … Read more

Dell adding 128GB SSD option to notebook lines

This post was updated at 1:50 p.m. PDT with new information about availability.

Dell is adding a little more flash to its notebook lines this week.

The Round Rock, Texas, PC maker is offering a 128GB solid-state drive as an option on its Latitude, XPS, Alienware, and Precision laptop models beginning Tuesday. Though Dell isn't usually the first to jump into the fray when it comes to tech trends, the company says it's planning to further push innovation in the next couple of months.

Though solid state isn't new technology, it isn't exactly mainstream … Read more