Our Dell rep showed up to our uni with a Latitude 2000 (prototype for the 2100, basically) a few weeks after my 2100 had shown up. Yes, you read that right: He had a pre-production model to demo even though real units were shipping. The 2000 had a 0x000007B blue screen on it because the previous rep hadn't taken care of it, and it had no touchscreen or web cam. What's the point of having demo models if they don't have any of the cool features that are available? Dell is neglecting a product which has real potential.
If Dell dropped this into the home market as a family friendly Netbook with grown-up power, they would outsell mini 9s and mini 10v. This would be ESPECIALLY true if they could bring the price down a bit. A 2100 has features that no other netbook has done well, if at all. Certainly no netbook has ALL of the features a 2100 has.
1) Has a large enough keyboard for adults while still small enough for kids
3) Has a touchscreen option
4) Is resistant to damage and spills,
5) Has an option for a carrying strap that fits into the Kensington lock ports
6) Uses standard Dell power adapters
7) Has fast Ethernet and wireless options
8) Has an option for an anti-microbial keyboard
Number 3) and 5) are worth special note: People ask me where they can get a strap like mine for their notebook all the time, right before they go "Holy crap, it has a TOUCHSCREEN?! How much did THAT cost, like a grand? $500 SHIPPED?! WHAT?! WHERE CAN I GET ONE OF THOSE?!"
If they offered both the rubberized texture case AND a standard smooth top and bottom plate with they colors of the Mini 10/10v, this thing would TRAMPLE other netbooks in the market. They also need to put the SSD
option back in, with the option for SSDs larger than 16GB. Larger SSDs are available in other laptops, why not this one? This would kick the price up, but the people that really need the storage would pay it. The only upgrade to my 2100 was putting a nice fat 64GB OCZ Solid series in there. Even a Latitude 2200, in the same case as a 2100 with and updated CPU, GPU (NOT A GMA 500!) and a higher resolution screen would be great.
P.S: Dell, if you decide to use any of my ideas, I could use another fully loaded 2100 (or 2200 if you release it) with Windows 7 to go with my Linux 2100n. Better still, I could use full time job.
I think there are two big Dell mistakes that have prevented the 2100 from taking off on its own. I suspect these blunders are the result of Dell trying to segment their market into distinct "Business" and "Home" categories, and forcing the 2100 into the Business category alone.
First and foremost, Dell has basically hidden it from the general public. Sure, you can buy them in the outlet, but only if you go to the Business and Education outlet and hunt for them. You can't get them "new and customized" unless you're in the Small Business store or higher, and you have to really know they exist to spot them. Ads for the 2100 occasionally flash by, but they are hardly eye catching. I actually went to my University's higher education store, went to notebooks/netbooks, and clicked the "latitude laptops" category, and the 2100 didn't show up. I then tried "netbooks". STILL no 2100. If you click the main "Laptops and Minis" link at the top, the 2100 isn't shown, only an E-Series latitudes button. The E-Series button links to every latitude EXCEPT THE 2100! The only way to find the 2100 is to click "Laptops and Minis" at the top, check the Latitude check box on the left, and then hunt for it. You can also check the 10.1" screen option, which will give the mini 10v, mini 10, and 2100. Most people aren't going to hunt for that particular model, especially when they don't know it exists to begin with.
Second, they keep changing the features. A few months ago, the Linux version of the Latitude 2100n had a touchscreen, Web Cam, and 16GB SSD
available, and I got all of these. The regular 2100 (Windows version) had all of these as well. Inexplicably, I could not get them in Chalkboard Black from the higher education store. Only Green, Blue, Yellow and Red were available, despite the fact that Black was available in other stores. Fast forward to today: None of the Latitude 2100s comes with an SSD
, the Linux version cannot have a touchscreen added in the configuration page anymore, and all stores seem to have a Black option now. Why does the Linux version suddenly have fewer features? Why are SSDs gone? Why couldn't I get Black initially in one store? What is going on at Dell?!