February 25, 2013, 1:58 PM — Government likes its things to go a distance. There's the Mars Rover, the Washington Monument and, now, a Dell tablet with an optional 20-hour battery.
Dell has taken its Latitude 10 tablet and made some security improvements, adding a smart card and fingerprint reader. The hope is that these add-ons will appeal to large institutional users: the government, healthcare operations and the financial services industry.
The Latitude 10 has a 10.1-in. screen and comes with a standard eight-hour battery; at nearly 1.5 pounds, it's also comfortable to hold. But there's now an option to replace the standard two-cell battery with a four-cell version, which Dell says can extend battery time up to 20 hours.
The extended life battery, which adds 4mm to the depth of the tablet, is aimed at people working long shifts and in need of continuous uptime, according to Dell officials, who last week showed off the tablet for the media.
The Latitude 10's biometric and card reader extends are already standard features on many government and healthcare laptops and desktops. In this case, Dell's focus may be really more on Windows.
The company is releasing this security enhanced tablet with studies arguing that IT departments can manage Windows-based tablets at far less cost than rival operating systems by using their existing desktop and laptop tools.
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, believes Dell has an argument to make regarding Windows management. "Despite the significant changes Microsoft has made in its traditional UI, Windows 8 solutions are still Windows and can be deployed far more quickly, easily and cost-effectively by IT than other platforms," he said.
King believes the extended battery capability, as well as the ability to swap out batteries, will be very important. "I can see it being extremely attractive in 24-by-7 working environments, such as hospitals, public safety and first responders, and military applications."
The enhanced security version of the tablet costs $779, and runs Windows 8 Pro on an Intel Atom processor and has 64GB of solid-state storage, among other features. It ships with the two-cell battery; the extended-life battery adds $55.30 to the order.
The tablet is available now.