After months of leaked details, Dell today officially launched its own offering to the growing netbook market.
Dell’s official line, as written in its company blog, reads, “Purpose-built to keep teens, tweens, travelers and “Tweeters” connected, the Mini is optimized for that ‘30-minute connection’ experience – blogging, surfing, e-mailing, chatting, viewing photos, videos and music – you get the idea.”
The entry-level Mini 9 starts at $349 and comes in a 2.28 lbs package with a customized variant of Ubuntu 8.04, 512 MB RAM, a 4 GB solid-state drive. The rest are the standard fare Intel Atom N270, an 8.9-inch 1024X600 LED display, 802.11n and a 4 cell battery.
An extra $50 on top of the above configuration will upgrade to an 8 GB SSD and add a built-in 0.3 MP webcam. Another $50 more at $449 will buy the XP Edition, which will include the Windows operating system and 1 GB RAM.
On the page, there is little to make the Inspiron Mini 9 more attractive than the rest of the pack. With the standard 4 to 8 GB of mass storage looking a little small, Dell has teamed up with Box.net to offer web-based file storage, access and sharing to Inspiron Mini users, including a free basic plan with 2 GB of remote storage space, expandable to 25 GB for additional fees.
The Inspiron Mini 9 will likely be the most attractive to those who are already planning to buy a Studio 15, XPS M1530 or XPS M1330 – as the Inspiron Mini 9 can be added to those purchases for only $99 through 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 (U.S. only).
Dell is the big dog in PC retail, but its Inspiron Mini 9 will be jumping into a segment with already fierce competition. With strong alternatives already on the market from Taiwanese OEMs, one can’t help but feel that Dell is just phoning this one in.