Back in September of 2009 we started shipping Latitude ON. The original version is an OMAP-based add-in card that delivers instant access and all day battery life for business users of the Dell E4200, E4300 and most recently the Latitude Z.
Recently we rolled out Latitude ON | FLASH. This new addition to the Latitude ON family runs on a special flash memory module that snaps into an internal mini-card slot on supported systems. It fits in the middle of the Latitude ON options, in between the Latitude ON Reader and the full OMAP version that I blogged about in this earlier post.
By running on a low-cost memory card Latitude ON | FLASH delivers a broad level of functionality at a significantly lower price point than the original Latitude ON OMAP-based offering. However, that does also mean that you don't run the software on a dedicated processor that requires significantly less power, customers using the cheaper Latitude ON| FLASH will not get the benefit of potentially multi-day battery life.
But with a new Gen 2 interface and the addition of Skype, support for Flash and full web browsing functionality, thin client capabilities, and other types of media, Latitude ON | FLASH seems like it might be a good compromise for business users who still want instant on access to a lot of the productivity tools they use everyday without having to boot into the operating system.
We're currently offering Latitude |ON FLASH as an option on new Latitude E4200, E4300 and Z machines for a $50 upgrade. That will get you both the hardware and software. Click on the image below to see it in more detail.
I noticed a thread on Notebookreview.com where some users were asking questions about the hardware and the software. We'll be selling the Latitude ON | FLASH hardware on Dell.com soon. The software requires the hardware module to continue with the install. I'll be sure to add the Dell.com link to this post when we do start offering the hardware.
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Any chance on seeing this available on the Latitude E6400?
What about the Precision series, specifically the 4400?
What is the Part Number of original version is an OMAP-based add-in card. I have check with UK Support and they are not aware of this feathure.
The Latitude ON FLASH kit available at the link below - it sells for $60 and can fit into an existing Latitude 4200 and 4300.
Seems strange that I put the more expensive (199.00) ARM version in when I bought my 4200. The flash device is $60.00 and seems to have more features....can anyone shed some light on what I'm missing?
FLASH came after the ARM option - so I'm guessing at the time that was the only Latitude ON option you were able to purchase ?
No doubt Dell also had additional ideas on the product family as a whole - so we're seeing their continued thinking in this area - hence new features in FLASH.
The ARM option of course buys you the better battery life with it's always on capability so you always have your email close to hand.
If battery life and email close to hand is your big thing, ARM fits the bill.
If you have other needs, then it's worth exploring FLASH (although pricing a higher capacity battery in with FLASH might get you close to ARM on battery life)
If you only have 50 bucks to spend, then FLASH is your only choice.
Yeah, you are correct it was the only option available at the time. I had the ARM version and I went ahead and picked up the FLASH version and there are some ups and downs (for my situation anyway). The Latitude ON original had it's own slot (spot really) that it plugged into. The new Latitude ON FLASH requires an FCM slot or you can use the WWAN (wireless broadband) slot. If you have a cellular broadband card you will need an FCM slot to use the ON FLASH chip.
I'm tearing my 4200 apart but it does not appear to have an FCM slot and that is a bit of a drag since I have a Sprint WWAN card. I took it out for now just to try the flash chip out and it is nicer looking than the ARM version. I still can't install noscript or xmarks into Firefox though so that's a bummer too. The Latitude ON original is some Linux distro customed for Dell but I'm not really sure who I did not really dig into that once I realized I could not customize it at all.
The New Latitude ON FLASH is Spashtop and they are pretty popular in this space but it appears you can't customize it either (or at least not without some tweaking first). If I get around to it in the future I'll hack on them both for a while and see what the possibilities are. One thing I will mention for anyone else who goes down this road. When I had the ARM version installed I had two options in the BIOS one was to enable Latitude ON the other (same page) was to enable Instant ON. I had some trouble getting the FLASH module to work and what I ended up doing was, after I removed the ARM version I went into the BIOS and disabled both options for Latitude ON. Then I installed the FLASH module and went into the BIOS and the only option was to enable Latitude ON. It took a while to figure this out so I thought I'd pass it on.
I have taken several photos on both the Latitude ON and Latitude ON Flash along with my experiences in setting them up: