Dell to sell $400ish Inspiron Mini 9

In Thursday's IT Blogwatch, we wait patiently for Dell's new mini laptop-netbook-Webtop-UMPC-whatever. Not to mention Yearbook Yourself...

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols gets practical:

Sources tell me, OK friends actually, that tomorrow, September 4th, is the long-awaited day that Dell will announce the release of its Inspiron 910... whoops they changed the name on me, it's the Inspiron Mini 9 -- mini-laptop. It will come with your choice of (Boo!) Windows XP Home SP3 or (Yea!) Ubuntu 8.04.

Before any Windows business users rush out to spend their hard-earned money on this spiffy little computer, they should keep in mind that

Dell Inspiron Mini 9
Ubuntu Linux is actually friendlier with Windows-based business networks than XP Home ... If you want to be a business road-warrior the Inspiron 910, chances are you'll actually want to use Ubuntu.

The Dell Inspiron 910 will use the Intel Atom 270 Diamondville CPU. This chip is already being used in other mini-computers such as the MSI Wind and the Acer Aspire. Dell's CPU will be using the same 1.6GHz model.

Will Will Head head it to the back of the net?

It may have had more name changes than Puff Diddy, but Dell has finally settled on Inspiron Mini 9 for its super small Eee PC botherer - and we now have a price too. It’s certainly been priced to shift ... The official spec list reads: 1.6GHz Intel Atom chip, 1GB memory, Intel GMA 950 graphics, 8.9in 1,024×600 display, up to 16GB SSD, three USB, Ethernet, VGA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel webcam and 4-cell battery.


Unfortunately there’s no sign of the red model that was being bandied around.

Stuart "frequent flyer" Miles lands:

Dell has finally entered the netbook market, although judging by the amount of leaks in the run up to the launch you would be forgiven for thinking its already happened.


Coming in Obsidian Black, strangely those looking to go for the Alpine White version will have to find another $25 a tactic that is the complete opposite to Apple and its colour options. The cheapest option will be $429 without Bluetooth, while the most expensive that gives you Bluetooth, a white shell and 16GB of storage will set you back $514.

But John Brownlee, no stranger to flowery prose, is less than impressed:

Dell ... basically confirms this week's binary disgorgements of the blogosphere scuttlebutt ... The prices — ranging from $349 to $449 — are not as impressive as the sub-$300 rumor that Xanadunian techno-idealists have been insanely flinging around our comments for months now.


But gee, now that I'm confronted with the Inspiron Mini's price sheet, I'm not sure I'm googly-eyed for her anymore. The Acer Aspire One looks to outspec the Inspiron Mini on the budget side in everything that matters for far less, and its 6-cell doupleplus megaluxe configuration is still cheaper than the Inspiron after Dell's managed in another stick of RAM, another 4GB of SSD, Windows XP and a 1.3 MP cam.

Cory O'Brien knows what day it is:

It’s also meant to be a durable computer that you can toss in a bag and not worry too much about, with a fully sealed keyboard, and solid state drive (SSD) memory storage ... [It's] definitely not for everyone, but with the success that Acer has been having with their EeePC netbooks, combined with Dell’s name brand and reliability, I think the Mini 9 is going to open up the world of netbook computing to a whole new audience that’s ready to embrace the change.

Kevin C. Tofel agrees:

Since we get so many questions about "build quality" when we look at these devices, I'm wondering if "brand name" is part of the equation here. Dell is joining HP and Lenovo as another "household name" vendor, at least here in the United States. Sure, Acer and Asus might be familiar to some consumers, but I think Dell and HP offer stronger brand recognition. Many people equate brand names with quality, which is why I'm tying the two together here, but perhaps I'm off-base.

Along with the brand name factor comes marketing. Why are names like Dell and HP so well known? Part of the reason is that most people have seen print or television ads from these companies. Plus, they walk into the local brick-and-mortar electronics chain and see far more Dell and HP computer models than they do from other brands.


I hadn't thought about branding on netbooks up to now, but with Dell entering the market, I'm thinking that it's another way to differentiate a netbook that's similar to so many others out there.

Your Humble Blogwatcher, class of '82?
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 22 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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