Dell is launching in Europe a glossy black netbook that will potentially head our way-or at least to "other regions"-this fall. Weighing under 3 pounds and calling attention in a slick shade called Obsidian Black, the Dell Inspiron Mini 1018 will come at a starting price of approximately $430.
In an Aug. 19 post on the Direct2Dell blog, Dell's Melanie D. offered the analogy that, if the Mini 1012 is a KitchenAid stand mixer, then the new Mini 1018 is the hand mixer-lighter, more portable-that the home cook more often grabs out of convenience. (Alas, baked goods not included.)
The Mini 1018 runs Microsoft's 32-bit Genuine Windows 7 Starter and has an Intel Atom N455 Single Core 1.66GHz processor, an Intel NM10 Express chipset, an Intel 3150 graphics media accelerator and 1GB of DDR3 (double-data rate) memory.
Its keyboard is 92 percent of full size and comes with "discrete buttons and single-gesture functionality," and the palm rest is textured. The netbook's display is a 10.1-inch WSVGA TrueLife with a resolution of 1,024 by 600 pixels.
Dell imagines the Mini 1018 being used in the back of the minivan to play videos for the kiddies-or cutting down phone bills by being used to place Skype video calls to the grandparents. To these ends, it offers a 0.3-megapixel Webcam, speakers and an integrated microphone, and the Skype app comes preinstalled.
Additionally, writes Melanie D., "The Mini 1012 features a lux HD display with Broadcom media accelerator for the best HD entertainment experience, enhanced audio with SRS Premium audio feature, and the ability to personalize with a number of vibrant colors ..."
Standard, 802.11b/g/n connectivity is included, but a Bluetooth 3.0 plus WiFi b/g/n combo card is an option. Likewise, the three-cell battery can be boosted up to a six-cell option.
On Aug. 19, Dell announced the earnings for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2011. While revenue was up 22 percent from a year ago, the company's consumer business remained flat. However, plans for improvement are under way, Dell CFO Brian Gladden told analysts during an earnings conference call.
"We've been repositioning the business, which involves targeting our efforts to the right geographies, products and customer subsegments," Gladden said. "We have a solid product portfolio lining up for the holidays, and we're making progress in simplifying our product portfolio."