The Dell Inspiron Mini 12 is a notebook that looks to bridge the gap between low-cost laptops like the Asus Eee PC and full-size notebooks with larger screens. Dell also took an unusual step and used an Intel Atom processor with the Inspiron Mini 12 notebook that was originally designed for a new class of mobile Internet devices, or MIDs. While available only in Japan now, the Dell Inspiron Mini 12 will hit U.S. retail shelves in November.
which entered the so-called "netbook" market in September with the Inspiron
is looking to bridge the gap between these low-cost laptops and
full-size notebooks with the newly released Inspiron Mini 12 notebook.
The Inspiron Mini
12, which Dell introduced in Japan on Oct. 26, offers a wider 12.1-inch
display, which makes its slightly larger than a typical netbook, such as the
Asus Eee PC or Dell's Inspiron Mini 9, which tend to have display of between 7
and 10 inches.
introduced this notebook in Japan first, the company said it plans to begin selling
these PCs in U.S. retail stores in November and in time for
the holiday shopping season. The Mini 12 will cost about $600, which makes it
more expensive than the Mini 9, which starts at about $350.
For images of the Dell Inspiron Mini 12, click here.
The Dell Inspiron
Mini 12 also takes advantage of Intel's Atom processors. However,
unlike other netbooks that use Atom chips designed for PCs
, the Mini 12 uses
those Atom chips created for MIDs. (Intel's code name for these chips was
Silverthorne.) The use of these Atom processors, according to Dell, allowed the
company to create a thinner, lighter notebook with better battery life.
While these types of notebooks are geared more toward
consumers than enterprise buyers, the netbooks category has proved extremely
important to vendors such as Dell. According to IDC
these low-cost laptops have helped keep PC shipments steady as businesses and
have held off buying PCs in the last year. At the same time,
these notebooks have pushed the average selling price down further, making these
laptops an attractive choice as a secondary notebook for the home or even for a
The Dell Inspiron
Mini 12, which measures less than 1 inch thick and weighs about 2.72 pounds,
offers a choice of two Intel processors. The first is the Intel Atom Z520,
which runs at 1.33GHz. Dell also offers an optional choice of the Intel Atom
Z530, which has a slightly higher clock speed of 1.6GHz.
The use of these
Atom chips means that the Mini 12 is geared more toward accessing the Web and
running some basic applications. While the first of these notebooks will use
the Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic operating system, Dell will add Windows
XP and Ubuntu Linux options later.
Other features of the Inspiron Mini 12 include 1GB of RAM
and a choice of 60GB or 80GB hard disk drives. The notebook also uses 802.11
b/g wireless technologies. Finally, the Mini 12 offers a choice of a three-cell
battery that offers 3.5 hours of battery life or a six-cell battery that boosts
the battery up to 7 hours.
Additional information about the Dell Inspiron Mini 12
notebook can be found on Dell's Direct2Dell blog here.