During COMPUTEX 2013, Dell introduced a prototype XPS 11 sporting Windows 8.1 (opens in new tab), a hybrid machine with an 11.6 inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440) display and the latest hardware from Intel. The company describes it as a cross between the XPS 12 and the popular XPS 13 laptop, only with Quad HD resolution. It’s built around a sturdy 360 degree hinge design, so users can easily flip from a tablet to a laptop and back again.
"In tablet mode, the backlit solid-surface touch keyboard is automatically disengaged," the company said on Monday. "The XPS 11 features many of the same premium materials we’ve used on other XPS laptops—it has carbon fiber on the top and the bottom, for example. You can expect full laptop performance and features like USB 3.0, HDMI Out and an SD card reader for importing photos and videos. All this in a package that’s less than 15mm thick and less than 2.5 pounds."
Currently the hardware details are slim at best, as the hybrid isn't due to launch until later this year. That said, Dell isn't commenting on specifics like the type of Intel processors the XPS 11 will have (expect multiple configurations), the amount of RAM and so on. However Engadget reports Dell was not only inspired by Lenovo's Yoga series, but listened to reviewers who complained that the keys got in the way of the tablet experience.
According to the report, Dell went with a flat, Surface-style keyboard, but with added audio and haptic feedback. Dell said the feedback will be adjustable as well the keyboard's sensitivity level, and the keys will be deactivated altogether when the user folds the screen back more than 180-degrees from the notebook form factor.
Kirk Schell, vice president of computing products at Dell, told PCWorld in an interview that the size of the screen matters less than the functionality, portability and battery life. Instead, the thickness, weight and resolution are critical and all of that has to fit in the right package. "Detachables, convertibles, two-in-ones will be part of the [diverse computing] market," Schell said. "For us, one-size-fits-all is not an answer."
Slashgear reports that the XPS 11 will actually have an Intel Core i5 "Haswell" processor, along with an active stylus for handwriting recognition and sketching that slips into a holder clipped to the Kensington lock port. The laptop is expected to arrive by the holiday season.