While word on the street was that the Dell Inspiron Duo would be available next week, it looks like you’re going to have to wait a little longer to get your hands on this new 10 inch convertible tablet/netbook hybird — but not much longer. Dell has announced that the Duo will start shipping the first week of December with a starting price of $549. It should be available from pre-order from Dell.com and the Microsoft Windows Store before that.

As expected, the machine will have a 10.1 inch display and a 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 dual core processor. It will run Windows 7 Home Premium, come with 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and a Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator for 1080p HD video acceleration. Oh yeah, it also has a 1366 x 768 pixel HD display, which is one of the reasons that HD video accelerator might come in handy.

While $549 might seem like a steep price for a netbook, the price really does seem about right considering all the premium features you get including the dual core CPU, HD display, and Windows 7 Home Premium. The fact that you can flip the screen and use the Duo like a tablet is almost a bonus.

I’ll be curious to see what the tablet experience is like on this device — I haven’t really been impressed with Windows 7 tablets with Atom processors in the past, but if you think about the tablet functionality as a bonus feature and pick up the Duo primarily for netbook use, it’s really not a bad deal. When you flip the computer into tablet mode, the Dell Stage media software also pops up, which shows that Dell is emphasizing video, eBook, and other multimedia applications in tablet mode.

The folks at Engadget have shot some hands-on photos and videos, and you can find more details at the official Windows blog.

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