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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 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:49AM (#23600533)
    Good to see some competition in this market, but I'll pick Asus over Dell any day.
  • 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...
  • Re:first post! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:59AM (#23600659)

    Good to see some competition in this market, but I'll pick Asus over Dell any day.
    Uh, based on what? Blind prejudice?
  • 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 somersault ( 912633 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:01PM (#23600705) Homepage Journal
    You can just increase the font size then, or set the resolution lower - it's definitely better to have too high a resolution than too small! And if this thing is going to be used with Windows, 800 is much better for being able to get to the buttons at the bottom of large dialogs and such.
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:04PM (#23600739)

    I don't know about anyone else, but 1280x800 on a screen that small is going to be practically unreadable for my eyes, and I'm not exactly old.

    If increasing resolution on the monitor makes things less readable, you've got an operating system (or, at least, window manager/display subsystem/etc.) that really sucks (worse than Windows), or you aren't using it properly.
  • by Mprx ( 82435 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:04PM (#23600749)
    Then increase the text size. Higher resolution is always better, even on a small screen. With higher DPI we can abandon ugly hacks such as font hinting. I want a monitor with the resolution of paper. The poor interface scaling of Windows XP is holding back the market for high resolution monitors, but other OSs don't have this problem.
  • 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.
  • Perfect. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:19PM (#23600953)
    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.
  • by SeePage87 ( 923251 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:23PM (#23601025)
    For that matter they could have removed the caps lock key entirely since there's no reason to have it. You could argue data entry, but not on a sub-notebook.
  • 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 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?
  • Re:spec creep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:28PM (#23601087) Homepage
    $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!
  • by idlemind ( 760102 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:43PM (#23601321)
    I am thinking the web is actually the limiting factor to adoption of high resolution screens. How many websites can scale to arbitrary dpi and look the same at each level? This is not just a windows problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:55PM (#23601507)
    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.
  • Re:first post! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by alx5000 ( 896642 ) <alx5000@alx 5 0> on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:05PM (#23601661) Homepage
    Why not? I'm certain it's just as good a method as any.
  • by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:09PM (#23601733) Homepage
    Sounds like a problem that should be solved by the rendering engine devs, not by the web designer. Perhaps someone who knows more than I do will say that this is not the case, but until then I'll stick with my intuition.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:17PM (#23601865)

    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 [].

    That's kinda what Dell does, at least lately. Remember when MS was like "You can't sell XP any more, we're selling VISTA now." and Dell replied with a very succinct "Fuck you too buddy, our customers won't buy Vista" and sold it anyway?

    And then "You can't sell XP after the start of June" and "Hey, up yours, Vista SP1 still won't sell, we'll just sell a "Vista license" with an XP CD and abuse a loophole in our contract allowing downgrades."

    I think Dell gave Microsoft's demands for XP-on-ultraportables exactly the amount of consideration it deserved -- NONE.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:20PM (#23601889) Journal
    You're absolutely right. A price point of $500 for this machine is about %50 too much. I really don't think Dell gets it. They can bring out all the "EEEPC killers" they want, but as long as they cost as much as a full-size laptop I can buy at Fry's, it's not going to sell.

    Second, I am completely sick of the notion that good design is worth more than 33% of the price of a product. I see it with the late-model cars, and dozens of other types of products. A manufacturer brings out a lineup of models and the only difference between the low-end and the medium-priced models is that one of them looks nicer. They might learn from the apparel industry where good design is expected at any price and it goes up according to the quality (and cost) of the materials used, not the fact that a little thought has gone into the design.

    Of all the input costs of a product, good design seems to be one of the ones that is the least expensive for a manufacturer.
  • by idlemind ( 760102 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:12PM (#23602275)
    It's a problem for both. Web browser support is poor. Once the support is there then web designers would need to invest a lot of time to adapt their content. Also, photographs and videos will be a problem because of bandwidth. If everyone has high-dpi screens then photos and video will need high-dpi as well (in order to look good).
  • 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.
  • Re:Dell EEE PC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:40PM (#23602623) Homepage Journal

    Most of the people making new EEE PC clones seem to believe that Asus' success has come from the fact that the EEE PC was small and not that it was inexpensive. Heck, even Asus' new version seems to make that assumption.

    It will be interesting to see how the next generation sells.

  • by Torvaun ( 1040898 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:13PM (#23603031)
    You assume that twitter is attempting to support free software, and is doing it poorly. I think it's much more likely that he's attempting to poorly support free software, and is performing that task admirably.
  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:14PM (#23603033)

    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...

  • Re:first post! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @05:31PM (#23604783) Homepage
    Probably just stinginess.

    At the $500 pricepoint, you are talking normal PC laptops.

    EEE is already at $350. Why bother with the Dell?

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.