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Portables Hardware

Dell Shows Off Its Eee PC Rival 250

Tom Moreland tips us to photos of Dell's answer to the Eee PC on the Direct2Dell site. Dell posted these after an attendee at the D conference spotted Michael Dell carrying one. The company hasn't released any details, so you can take these with a grain of salt — from a commenter to Dell's post: "Here are the specs for the Dell Mini Inspiron: Atom 1.6 GHz, 3 USB ports, Ethernet, Card reader, Kensington lock, Adapter socket, Mic/line-out, VGA port, screen resolution at 1280×800. Scheduled to be released before the end of June 2008. It costs less than $500."
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Dell Shows Off Its Eee PC Rival

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  • first post! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 )
    Good to see some competition in this market, but I'll pick Asus over Dell any day.
    • spec creep (Score:5, Insightful)

      by samuisan ( 142967 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:59AM (#23600671)
      Notice how there is already some creep in specs and price, none of the ones anounced since the first eeepc (including the new 9" version) is lighter or cheaper and most of them seem to be quite a bit more.

      Instead I would like to see them stick at 300 euros and just gradually improve the spec.
      • by westbake ( 1275576 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:21PM (#23600997) Homepage

        Some of these specs, like the 1280x800 resolution screen look beyond the M$ limits for such devices []. Good for Dell, they know what the market really looks like [].

        • What's an M$ limit? Your link doesn't work. I couldn't possibly accept any resolution less than the 1280x768 on my Lifebook P2120. I'm considering a T2010 which has 1280x800 but it's edging up pretty close to $2000.

          I'm toying with the idea of 4G RAM and a spare battery and charger which pushes it over the $2000 mark, but the advantages of a small 9 hour battery plus a larger 11 hour battery plus an external battery charger is very attractive. I would love it if I could make it through the weekend with just
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by basotl ( 808388 )
            He was trying to link to this: []
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by lbgator ( 1208974 )

            GP is referring to a free version of Windows that would only be available to the ultra-portable market. I can't find the link right now - but the stipulation would be that the MS OS would be free (or very very cheap) to put on machines with 800x600 screens and sub GHz processors IIRC.

            MS would then be able to remain a dominant OS by being available/viable in the pending cheap market, and not lose customers to Linux.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Buy your RAM separately and you'll save a lot of money. Make sure you get the fastest SPEED of RAM that they'll offer you, though - Dell, for one, has a nasty habit of making sure no RAM will be recognized as faster than the speed they originally installed in their laptops.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ken_g6 ( 775014 )
        $500 US is about 325 Euro, so it's not much over if at all. And if they stick with that USD figure, it's getting cheaper for you by the day!
      • Dell EEE PC (Score:3, Interesting)

        by whtmarker ( 1060730 )
        No matter what features the EEE has, it was designed to be low cost. Any competitor must also be low cost. $500 is not cheap for a laptop these days.

        Why does dell need to make an EEE competitor when it ALREADY HAS a $399 laptop you can buy today. The Dell Vostro 1000 [] has an AMD Sempron 3600+, XP Home, 15.4 inch Wide Screen, 1GB RAM, 80GB HD, CD Burner, 802.11g Wifi, and 256MB integrated video.
      • ...where are mini laptops with trackpoint instead of (too small) touchpad?!
    • by farrellj ( 563 ) *
      Ahh...ASUS makes some of Dell's desktop Motherboards.

      Another company whose name escapes me makes laptops/notebooks for both HP *and* Dell.

      There are only a half dozen manufacturers of laptops/notebooks in the world today.


  • Dimensions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LotsOfPhil ( 982823 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:53AM (#23600567)
    Given that this is being compared to the EEE, physical dimensions are important. Guessing based on the pencil in the pictures, this looks like it is maybe 8" x 5" (20 cm x 12 cm).
    • by metamechanical ( 545566 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:59AM (#23600657)

      Given that this is being compared to the EEE, physical dimensions are important. Guessing based on the pencil in the pictures, this looks like it is maybe 8" x 5" (20 cm x 12 cm).
      You'd think so, but that's actually one of those comically large pencils, putting it at about the size of your entire desk.
  • by nickos ( 91443 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:55AM (#23600605)
    The most interesting question to me is which OS Dell will choose to install on it. Hopefully it will be a Linux distro...
    • by RandoX ( 828285 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:05PM (#23600765)
      XP home or Ubuntu, according to Engadget [].
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zoole ( 1276372 )
      What with them already offering it on some systems, I'm betting on Ubuntu. Purely out of curiosity, I wonder if they're planning on doing something with the UMPC version of Ubuntu that Canonical is supposedly working on...
    • by pembo13 ( 770295 )
      Why is this modded as flaimbait?
      • by Facetious ( 710885 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:55PM (#23601509) Journal
        When I see screwy modding like this, I view it as evidence of my theory that some AI experiment at MIT or possible DoD has gone awry and that some program has actually managed to register a /. account. It is not yet advanced enough to know the nuances of human languages (especially English), so it moderates (when given mod points) as best it can.

        Ooh! Ooh! I just came up with a corollary. The meta-mod system was developed by CmdrTaco to aid in training said AI program. It's a conspiracy!
    • Anyone know if Dell gives you a real Ubuntu installation, or do they load up the desktop with a bunch of ad programs?
      • by Zemplar ( 764598 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:58PM (#23602121) Journal

        Anyone know if Dell gives you a real Ubuntu installation, or do they load up the desktop with a bunch of ad programs?
        It's a fork of Ubuntu called "Adbuntu"
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ais523 ( 1172701 )
        I'm using a Dell-preloaded-with-Ubuntu (originally Feisty) at the moment. There wasn't any adware on it as far as I could tell, just stock Ubuntu which seemed to have been installed straight off the CD. It also has Windows keys (mapped to Super), and it came with manuals describing Windows XP; I got the impression that they'd just got one of their Windows computers, put an Ubuntu LiveCD in, and clicked Install. (Of course, they probably do more than that.) No adware that I could see, though; there's a click
  • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:56AM (#23600613) Journal
    There are models for 300 bucks and they think that they will sell well at $500?

    It may have some potential. Having a good cheap system to surf with is definitely a good idea. But for $500 you can get a regular fully functional laptop in many instances.

    Dell's going to be competing with their own price points no matter where they put this product in the spectrum from 3-500$ they'll be cannibalizing their own market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well considering that "small-size" used to be a high-priced premium, I think that a small but cheap laptop is probably the better choice for the mobile individual. The 300$ models you speak of are usually 15.4" models and those aren't exactly small or lightweight.

    • by feranick ( 858651 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:26PM (#23601067)
      Portability. It's the same argument that people made back in the days when laptops were not ubiquitous. You can get a cheaper more powerful desktop, so why do you want to buy a laptop? Same here, scaled to new ultraportable devices.

      The ASUS eeePC is currently selling like hotcakes, and the price range is currently in the neighborhood of 400-500$. Your argument has been around for quite a while ("I can get a full featured laptop for the same money"). The problem is this laptop isn't a regular laptop, but a new category of devices. Something you can carry easily, light, and robust. Dell isn't foolish, after the success of the eeePC, the HP mini-note and new devices coming from MSI, they want to make sure of their presence in that growing market.

      So yes, you can get something bigger for similar money. But you get a all different device. Exactly like the MacBook Air (why spending so much for something slower than a regular Mackbook?) these are new devices, for people who value portability over added features.

      In addition, if these devices run Linux natively (as they pretty much all do, in addition to WinXP), you get a modern fast OS, without you having to do anything to it, it simply work out of the box. In fact some people say that the Linux version are for those unexperienced, considering how easy they are to maintain.... Can you say the same about the crap-loaded $500 cheap "conventional" laptops?
    • The three biggest complaints leveled at the EEEPC were undersized screen, inadequate storage, and undersized keyboard. The first two of those things can only be fixed by adding $. Go figure. Personally, the MSI Wind is likely to be what my wife gets in a week. She really needs something that can fit in a large purse or small backpack, isn't that fragile, and doesn't weigh much. She doesn't need (or even really want) an optical drive, or a big hard drive, or a good video card, or a ton of storage. If i
    • Yes, models for $300 - with 2GB of storage, a 7-inch 800x480 screen, and an underclocked chip running at 630Mhz. $500 is perfectly reasonable as Eee 900 and HP 2133 sales have shown.

      Please stop with the stupid and uninformed comparisons to the Eee 2G Surf...
    • If all you are looking at is price, then, yes $500 is too expensive. If you are looking at form factor/price/capabilities, the extra $200 maybe worth it for some people to have a smaller form factor. The MacBook Air starts at $1200, and some people buy it because they think the form factor/price/capabilities is worth it. But of course for some people, for $1200 they better be able to compete with a Cray even though it is the size of a small apartment. Those people are not who this product is targeted to
      • I agree completely that it's a different capability.

        However, as they are a company with sub 500$ laptops, they will be competing with themselves on some levels as mentioned :)

        Of course, that really means that the laptops they offer are unreasonably priced.
        • However, as they are a company with sub 500$ laptops, they will be competing with themselves on some levels as mentioned :)

          You'd think so, until you actually give it some real consideration. Then you'd realize how wrong that is.

          The market for "cheapest possible laptop" isn't going to cross over with the "very small, very light laptop" very often. They are two different products. To make the ubiquitous car analogy, people who sell trucks aren't worried about cannibalizing their convertible market, even th

    • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:12PM (#23601767) Homepage
      Digital released the Microvax II which had, if memory serves me, virtually the same performance as a full-sized VAX at about a third or a quarter of the price. More to the point, it was significantly better than the VAX-11/750, better as in double the performance, for about half the price. Killed all the older lines dead, instantly.

      Wang released the Wang 1200 WPS, its CRT-based word processing system, at a time when their previous non-CRT-based offering was still selling well. Killed the older line dead, instantly.

      Apple released the iPod Nano about eighteen months after the introduction of the iPod Mini line, and barely six months after a major refresh of the iPod Mini line, killing the minis dead instantly.

      (And, for the record, the Digital and Wang examples occurred during the upward trajectories of those companies and were major, major successes for them).

      Companies don't have to put the customers' interests ahead of their own, but they need to put a high priority on it. Companies that concentrate too much on what's good for them instead of what's good for their customers... rationalizing product lines, avoiding cannibalization, holding back new features, and generally not producing the best products they know how to produce (e.g. IBM foot-dragging on the 80386) get in trouble. Their locked-in customers may go along for a while, but customers aren't stupid and they'll be steaming about it, and delighted to give the company its comeuppance.
      • Another example:

        When HP was great at making inkjet and laser printers, the motto was, "Let's put ourselves out of business every 6 months because if we don't do it, someone else will."

        The best printers in the history of the world came out of that process and HP made megabucks. Then David Packard died and a faceless corporate board took over...

    • it costs more than the EEE, it has better specs than the EEE. Can we see a correlation here?
    • by hassanchop ( 1261914 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:20PM (#23602373)

      But for $500 you can get a regular fully functional laptop in many instances.

      Yes you can. So my question to you then is, why are people snatching up these mini-notebooks left and right, with companies seemingly finding an urgent need to enter the niche?

      Is it possible that you're missing something? Or do you ascribe the success of these devices to marketing and gullibility? I ask because I've seen your argument before, and responded to it before, but the responses never seem to register.

      So what is your answer? Why are people going against what you think to be the intelligent choice? I ask again, is it possible that you missed something and that 500 dollar laptop you're touting doesn't measure up for some reason? I bet if you examine the two devices, you'll see the major difference that makes these devices desirable.

      Hint: it's not processor speed, or hard drive size, or screen resolution. Those things matter little to the people considering an EEEPC or one of its competitors.
  • by Fallen Andy ( 795676 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:57AM (#23600645)
    (maybe) another one from Acer .See here []


  • Any company producing magnifying glass for these mini-laptop? I mean there are so many eye-sore out there to make them rich.
  • by RandoX ( 828285 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:02PM (#23600721)
    Does it run Vista?
  • Total Karma whoring (Score:4, Informative)

    by foobat ( 954034 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:04PM (#23600757)
  • by Palal ( 836081 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:05PM (#23600779) Homepage
    Yes, the keyboard seems to be pretty darn big. However, as always they managed to screw up key placement. Apostrophe is not in its regular place, shift is waaaay over to the right of the up arrow. What are these people smoking? Make the [ENTER] key smaller and put apostrophe where it belongs. Instead of where the apostrophe is now, put the slashdot keys there (/ and/or .), and put shift in their place. Why do all these laptop manufacturers need to be individualistic with keyboard design? It's not like keyboards have feelings. Users do, though. :)
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:12PM (#23600867)
    Am I the only one who thinks this looks a lot better than 99% of Dell's plain-jane (any color, as long as it's black and grey) standard models? Forget developing countries, I want one HERE.
    • You do know you can buy a red Inspiron or XPS laptop? They even have them in pink. :)

      Yes, you can't get the ultra-portable mini yet, but you can get them in 14", and the XPS at 13". :)
  • Perfect. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HerculesMO ( 693085 )
    This is exactly what I would want to give to my mother, because all she does is go on YouTube to find oldies music videos, and surf the internet and play casual card games.

    Yes, the Asus runs Linux, but it doesn't run her casual games. I still require Windows. It's not that bad anyway -- I'll set it up properly and lock her out of admin, and she can't screw it up that badly. And it's cute.
    • You have to get her started on Mahjongg []. My parent's computer is dual boot xp/ubuntu and after I showed them how to play Mahjongg they started booting into Linux. Now they are hooked. They have actually adapted all their other computer activities to Linux so that the game is readily available.

  • by Darth Muffin ( 781947 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:25PM (#23601049) Homepage
    It looks suspiciously like a rebranded MSI Wind ( subnotebook to me. All of the specs are EXACTLY the same. The MSI wind is even available in red...
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:26PM (#23601063)
    I used to think the Eee PC was a great idea until I actually tried to type on a 7" model at Best Buy.

    Absolutely horrendous keyboard! Too small and cramped for me to be able to stand there and type out a few sentences at normal speed.

    For me, the best portable I've seen is the old 12" PowerBook G4. It was light and small, but had a fully usable keyboard.
    • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:50PM (#23601433) Homepage
      Absolutely horrendous keyboard! Too small and cramped for me to be able to stand there and type out a few sentences at normal speed.

      Not sure how big your hands are, but mine are pretty big, and I've had a 7" EEE since they came out - I absolutely LOVE the keyboard for how small it is. I haven't had a problem typing ~60WPM on it (I normally type ~65WPM). You don't want to type for hours on it, but nobody would want to do that on *any* subnotebook.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy ( 3352 )

      I used to think the Eee PC was a great idea until I actually tried to type on a 7" model at Best Buy.

      I hated the Eee's keyboard for about the first hour, then adjusted enough that it wasn't that big of a deal, at least for what I use it for (web surfing, email, SSH, developing large applications in Python).

  • Ubuntu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trenchbroom ( 1080559 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:33PM (#23601159)
    Well this explains why Mark Shuttleworth has confirmed that Ubuntu is coming out with a version for UMPCs. Dell needs a linux distro to compete on the low end against Asus and the rest.
  • i don't know if you've ever tried using firefox on 1024x600 but it's awful.

    fully 2/5ths of the screen is taken up with impossible-to-remove toolbars, and, on these tiny screens, you are left with 2 inches of readable space in which to view the web page.

    the minimum useable screen resolution is 1024 x 768 - yes those extra 168 pixels make a massive difference - and so i am deeply impressed to hear that dell have got it right, by providing a 1200 x 800 screen.

    you can always increase the font size on an 8in scr
  • by Anonymous Coward
    These tiny machines really need a fold-out butterfly keyboard [] as once appeared on an old ThinkPad model. I tried typing on an Eee PC recently and found it nigh on impossible, especially at the command prompt.
  • but can it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainNerdCave ( 982411 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:02PM (#23601615)
    first off, i do own an eeepc with a 4gb hdd and no camera

    can this new dell fit in my jacket pocket? by far, the most excellent thing about the eee pc is that it is so incredibly portable without making significant sacrifices. furthermore, with 4gb of space, there are many choices for an os.

    my hands aren't small, but i can manage to touch-type reasonably well on it. frankly, i don't think anyone should be alloted any credence when complaining about the keyboard size on such a small system. it's much like griping about the lack of luggage-space on a motorcycle. if your major complaints are about the keyboard, you must not be the target market.

    my only complaints are about the cpu, which seems to be underclocked to 630mhz, and the difficulty in booting from an sd card (i'm sure i'll figure it out).

  • No wifi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sjonke ( 457707 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:07PM (#23602209) Journal
    The specs list ethernet, but no mention of wifi? If it doesn't have built-in wifi, I don't see how it can compete with the Eee PC
  • Well, its guts, at least.

    I was visiting a friend a short while back and he was doing some development on it. It was sans-case - just some cardboard to hold up the screen above a bare motherboard sitting on the desk.

    Couldn't determine a whole lot but it was running Ubuntu, had solid-state drives and used the Atom chips.

    I was getting ready to buy an eee (finally time to upgrade from my Poqet) but his advice was to absolutely wait till the Dell is out since I would probably change my mind.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard