Dell's Ubuntu Ultrabook arrives this autumn

Demand from developers drives Dell to release open-source Ultrabook

Nicole Kobie
19 Jul 2012

Dell has revealed its Ubuntu-based XPS 13 laptop is going from "pilot to product" this autumn.

Dell first announced the open-source Ultrabook in May, saying it would run a six-month pilot, dubbed Project Sputnik, to see how much demand there was from developers for an open-source device.

Dell was "blown away" by the response for the project, receiving thousands of applications for a beta device, said Barton George, project Sputnik lead and director of Dell's web vertical marketing.

"Since we announced Project Sputnik a little over two months ago, we have continued to be amazed by the amount and quality of interest and input we have received," George said.

The device will be the top-end XPS 13, George said in a blog post, and run the long-term support version of Ubuntu 12.04.

Prices haven't been announced, although Dell told TechCrunch it will sell for a bit less than the Windows version, which is currently priced at £1,119 ex VAT on Dell's site. It will start selling in the autumn in "select geographies".

Project Sputnik is part of Dell's new "incubation" programme, which looks to give employees space to work on their own ideas - similar to Google's 20% system. "The idea behind the incubation program is to harness that scrappiness and inventiveness to explore and validate new ideas and products outside mainstream Dell processes," said George.

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