Dell – More Inspiron Mini 9 Deals, Advice

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Every few weeks, Dell has some very good deals on their 8.9-inch Intel Atom-based Inspiron Mini 9 netbooks. You can pick up the base for $249, but some of their pre-configured models with better features, and some of the upgrades are on sale or discounted.

For the most part, I would recommend against the baseline $249 model – the Ubuntu Linux distribution is good distribution for these ultraportables (and Dell has done a lot of work on their particular installs), but the storage is a 4GB Solid State Drive (SSD), and it wouldn’t take much to fill that up if you are offloading photos or video to it. I know that’s not what people intended these devices for, but that’s what people are doing with them.

If you are leaning towards an Inspiron Mini 9 and your budget is around $400, this is what I would do:

Visit the Inspiron Mini 9 page at Dell Home and Home Office

You can select the $299 model (normally $319) to get the Windows XP option, otherwise select the $249 baseline model for Linux.

Microsoft Windows XP Home model – $389
Specs: 1GB RAM, 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD), 1.3MP Webcam.
1) Select Obsidian Black as the color
2) Standard 1 year warranty
3) Select 1GB DDR2 RAM/Memory – adds $25
4) Hard Drive – select 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD) (add $40)
5) Integrated Webcam – $25 extra for 1.3MP, ($15 for 0.3MP)

Ubuntu Linux 8.04.1 – $379
Specs: 1GB RAM, 32GB SSD, 1.3MP Webcam
1) Select Obsidian Black as the color
2) Standard 1 year warranty
3) Select 1GB DDR2 RAM/Memory – adds $25 (2GB is $75)
4) Hard Drive – select 32GB Solid State Drive (SSD) (add $65)
5) Integrated Webcam – $25 extra for 1.3MP, ($15 for 0.3MP)

Some notes:
– If you don’t plan on video chatting or using Skype, you can save $25. If you do plan on video chatting, Skype, etc., I highly recommend the 1.3MP webcam over the 0.3MP Webcam. It’s only a $10 difference, but the video is much improved on the other end (assuming the person you are talking to has a good internet connection).
– $59 extra for a two year warranty with the added in-home repair if you qualify isn’t bad
– $20 more gets you Bluetooth 2.1
– Depending on the model, you maybe able to go up to 2GB of RAM using third party memory, if you are comfortable with doing it yourself. Some models don’t offer that option.

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Asus Eee PC 1008HA Hands-On, Specs (Various)

Asus Eee PC 1008HAThere have been several hands-on videos and photos of the upcoming Intel Atom-powered 10-inch Asus Eee PC 1008HA, which was previously referred to as the “Shell” Eee PC. Engadget even has photos of a red model, which was previously unknown (some documentation suggested that the only models available would be silver or white, and black). jkkmobile has a longer hands-on video of the 1008HA. has published some photos with a better look at the chiclet or Scrabble-style keyboard.

SlashGear has posted a hands-on with the Asus Eee Docking application, which provides easy access to Eee-specific software and services, such as Eee Arena, Eee Sharing (ties into Eee storage), Eee Xperience, and Eee Tools.

More features have been released and discussed:
– 1.3MP Webcam
– 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0 look to be standard features
– Lithium Polymer battery, with up to 5 hours of battery life
– 10GB Eee storage (online)

More specifications have been released as well. We knew it weighed under 2.5 pounds and was around an inch thick, but here are the released dimensions:
Width: 10.3 inches / 262 mm
Depth: 7 inches / 178 mm
Height: 1 inches / 25.7 mm
Weight: 2.4 pounds / 1.1 kg

UMPC Portal

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Asustek to Phase Out 7-inch Eee PC, Considers Qualcomm, Changes Motto, Branding, Plus the T91/T101

Asus Eee PC Quite a few changes have been announced by Asustek this week. The biggest is that Asustek will be phasing out the 7-inch Eee PC segment of its Eee PC family, according to Asustek’s chairman, Jonney Shih. This falls in line with comments made around three weeks ago that Asustek would be simplifying its Eee PC line, with an emphasis on 10-inch models (8.9-inch models would still be around), and Shih reiterated that emphasis in comments made to ZDNet at CeBIT 2009 this week.

He mentioned the screensize as a major factor, which makes sense – most people have indicated that they prefer at least 1024×600, while the 7-inch models only allowed for 800×480.

DigiTimes mentioned that the Eee PC business is being broken down into three major groups:
– High-end netbooks – over $400 USD, includes Eee PC S101
– Mainstream – $299 – $399 USD, such as Eee PC 1000HE and Eee PC 1008HA (see announcement).
– Entry-level – $299 and under, mainly 8.9-inch Eee PCs

Interestingly enough, according to Samson Hu, the manager of Asustek’s Asus Eee PC business, Asustek estimates that the convertible/Tablet PC touchscreen Eee PCs – the Eee PC T91 and Eee PC T101, will make up 10% of the company’s Eee PC shipments for 2009.

DigiTimes is also reporting that Asustek is looking at Eee PCs based on Qualcomm’s platform. Hu has said that Asustek does not have plans to produce non-Intel Atom-based Eee PCs at this point, but they are evaluating other platforms. Last month in an interview, Hu mentioned that Asustek was looking at Android based netbooks for its Eee PC line, and had gone so far as to assign engineers to evaluate the Android platform.

Hu also made comments that they don’t believe that Intel’s CULV platform will impact mainstream markets, and instead will be concentrated in emerging markets.

The Asustek motto (at least as far as Eee PCs are concerned) has also been changed from “Rock Solid. Heart Touching” to “Inspiring Innovation. Persistent Perfection”.

The Eee PC branding was also changed – it did stand for “Easy to learn, easy to work, easy to play”, and it has been changed to “Easy, excellent, exciting”.


Posted in Announcements, ASUS, Netbook, News, Tablets, Touchscreen | Comments Off on Asustek to Phase Out 7-inch Eee PC, Considers Qualcomm, Changes Motto, Branding, Plus the T91/T101

Dell Latitude XT2 Available in April

Dell Latitude XT We’ve heard very little about the upcoming 12.1-inch Dell Latitude XT2 convertible Tablet PC/laptop, since the official announcement almost a month ago.

At that time, the shipping date for the base model ($2,399 USD) was listed as February 24, 2009.

Now it’s showing up as April 9, 2009.

The base package has not changed:
– Intel® Coreâ„¢ 2 Duo SU9300 (1.20GHz, 3M L2 Cache)
– 1GB DDR3 Memory
– 80GB HDD
– External Optical Drive: E-Module w/ 8X DVD Writer
– 802.11b/g Wireless
– 4-Cell Battery
– Microsoft Windows Vista Business

As for the change in shipping date, I have no idea why it was pushed back. It still lists as shipping in 3-5 days, but as Engadget points out, if you click through, it shows up as April 9, 2009.

via Engadget

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The Netbook as an e-Book Reader (CNET)

Acer Aspire One 10-inch Dan Ackerman at CNET has written an article, “Kindle, schmindle…I’ve got your $350 e-book reader right here” where he discusses alternatives to the Amazon’s Kindle 2, namely netbooks, and specifically the 10-inch Acer Aspire One.

He points out the display is not the best, since laptop/notebook displays are brighter than the Kindle’s, which was designed to mimic printed books, and it is heavier and somewhat awkward when used on it’s side, but there are ways you can still get decent e-book functionality.

One is using the EeeRotate software, which is a Windows application that allows you to rotate the display and touchpad so that you can read/view your display with your netbook on its side. You might want to be careful and keep an eye on where your ultraportable has its fan/ventilation located, and try and keep that on top – if you rotate it in such a way as to have the output at the bottom, it’s liable to feed warm air back into the system and cause the fan(s) to spin up more than is needed.

He also mentions some software packages for ebooks, such as Microsoft Reader, and the Digital Editions reader from Adobe.

Excerpt from the article:

With all the buzz about Amazon’s new Kindle 2, you’d think this revamped e-book reader was the most advanced piece of technology this side of designer babies. After all, for $359, you get a color screen, Wi-Fi and Web browsing, video playback, 60GB of storage, and a reasonably usable keyboard.

Oh wait, you don’t get any of that stuff. No, that’s what $350 can get you if invested in even a low-end Netbook, such as the new 10-inch Acer Aspire One. Not only is there a wide range of PC software available for buying and displaying e-books (and tons of free content as well), when you’re done with all that highbrow readin’, pop open a Web browser and rot your brain with some Hulu videos.

Unlike the closed-loop system on the Kindle (it generally only works with e-books from Amazon, and Amazon e-books only work on the Kindle and the related iPhone app — although there are some Kindle conversion tools out there, and Amazon will convert your personal docs for Kindle use at 10-cents a pop), at least you have a variety of different software and content provider options with my proposed $350 Kindle alternative.

Read: CNET

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