Dell Inc., already the largest seller of PCs to schools worldwide, is trying to extend its lead with its first low-cost "netbook" designed for young students at a time when schools, businesses, and general consumers are cutting back on technology spending.

Dell's new Latitude 2100, which is being unveiled at an event May 19 in Australia, is part of a newly popular category of computer that is much like a laptop, but cheaper, smaller, lighter, and less powerful.

Unlike Dell's other netbooks, the 2100's shell is made from brightly colored, easily gripped rubber, not slippery plastic. Its underside is free from vents


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