Update: The Dell XPS 13 developer edition is now available… for $1549.
The Dell XPS 13 ultrabook is the model that’s been used during the testing period. It’s a 3 pound notebook with a 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, an Intel Sandy Bridge processor, a solid state disk, and a starting price of about $950 when configured with Windows.
Project Sputnik has involved loading up the laptop with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS instead of Windows and targeting developers who are comfortable with Linux software. The website for the beta hardware also says the Sputnik version of the XPS 13 has an “i7 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor,” which seems like a typo — since I’m not aware of any CPU that has both i7 and Core 2 Duo in the name.
To be honest, it’s not that hard to just buy a Windows laptop and load Ubuntu on it yourself. But when a PC maker preloads the operating system, there’s a lower chance of running into hardware compatibility problems. Hopefully Dell will also offer some level of support for laptops it sells with Ubuntu.
After months of testing, it’s likely that Dell will continue to use the XPS 13 as its flagship Ubuntu ultrabook. But it’d be nice to see the company offer additional options such as higher resolution displays or faster processors for customers that want them. After all, this notebook is supposed to be aimed at developers.
There’s no word on how much the Sputnik laptop will cost when it launches, but it’s expected to be initially available only in the US.