10 Comments

Summary:

It’s funny because rarely do you see a single product inspire more copycat love from major OEMs like we have recently.  Asus woke up the sleeping giants with its EEE PC and once HP jumped on the bandwagon with its MiniNote I knew it wouldn’t be […]

It’s funny because rarely do you see a single product inspire more copycat love from major OEMs like we have recently.  Asus woke up the sleeping giants with its EEE PC and once HP jumped on the bandwagon with its MiniNote I knew it wouldn’t be long before other major notebook makers introduced products too.  Yesterday Dell leaked information about its upcoming mini-notebook now being called the Mini Inspiron.  Gizmodo got to see and take some photos of it but Dell wouldn’t give up the expected pricing nor OS it was running.  In fact pretty much all they’d confirm was that the Mini Inspiron was aimed at "developing countries", something that if true is missing the mark by a wide margin given the popularity of these mini-notebooks.

Dellwpencil

Today information has leaked over at UMPC Portal about the Acer Aspire One, a mini-notebook that looks a lot like the HP MiniNote and runs Windows XP.   The early information has the Aspire One using the Atom chip and that it will retail for 299 Euros.  The genre is heating up.

Acer1

  1. I have been following the fuss over the eee and followers in the press, and one thing I have seen on JKOTR that makes me breathe a sigh of relief is that someone in the tech press is actually casting a critical eye on $500-700 low powered mini notebooks.

    As you have mentioned in previous posts, Asus initially wanted to create a very inexpensive ($200) linux powered portable. $200 became $400, linux became XP and now these things are headed into the $800 range (HP mini fully loaded). Was the original concept lost somewhere?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love small gadgets. I have too many to mention. But all these things are really good for is the typical office profile of Word Processing, e-mail and surfing. I can accomplish that using my HTC x7501, or Nokia n800 with a bt keyboard, both of which have great connectivity options and are smaller and lighter than the eee.

    You can also get Intel and AMD powered notebooks in the $500-$700 range now that will do way more than what the typical sub notebook in this class can accomplish with limited storage, RAM and processing power.

    I need a full featured notebook when I want to use the testing tools I use in my job, or use Photoshop or any of the other Adobe apps, or play a 3D game, or watch a movie at a decent framerate or store large amounts of data, etc., etc.

    Anyway, I had to finally vent. I typically read 20-30 tech blogs a week, and you guys are the only ones I have seen to actually call the PC manufacturers on the usefulness and price point of what they were producing in this class.

    That being said, with the ATOM and MIDs and some of the new developments, I see companies producing models that are closer to what I think is needed: A full fledged notebook in a small form factor (what Sony has been producing in the 2k range for several years now).

    Keep up the good work guys, and I will keep reading it (typed on my HTC Advantage!)

  2. James Kendrick Thursday, May 29, 2008

    Ken A, I read your comment on my HTC Advantage. :)

  3. >>>HTC x7501, or Nokia n800 with a bt keyboard

    The first might not have the software I need to use. And it’s more expensive than these subnotes.

    The second I wouldn’t take for free!

    You mention PhotoShop. I have no need for that. I’ve listed the apps I intend to use in my Bookmarks here, under Software:
    http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/bookmarks-v05/

    The only thing that might be a problem is iTunes, but I could do without that in a pinch.

    Sure, for the price of the EeePC e900 I could get a full-featured notebook. But that’s not something I could tote around in an already-heavy shoulder bag. Weight and size are important.

  4. The Dell looks really nice. It help that my favorite color is red.

    :)

  5. the Dell is ugly as sin, no surprise there. red? i mean really, is this for women & children, what are grown men suppose to use? what is that huge thing above the KB?

    the Acer looks pretty hot though.

  6. the outside of the Dell looks nice (besides the color), the inside looks terrible. it’s an 8.9″ model & the bezel looks significantly smaller than the HP, so this device could be a bit smaller overall.

  7. JK, Would you say that the origami UMPC’s (i know origami is the microsoft software package but i relate to folding/sliding keyboard devices as origamies as the name is very fitting :) ) are being wiped out by the mini-notebook class? I haven’t heard news on any new breakthroughs in the UMPC class recently (shame, cause they were just getting to the stage where they would be useful to me). Would be an interesting topic for a future blog me thinks.

  8. Besides weight (max of 1.1kg) and size (max 16cm long, max 25.5cm wide) being important – the operating system and choice of disc medium is vital.

    Asus is the winner so far with Linux that allows fast bootup and shutdown times, and the SSD drive goes with the territory as I believe with extra portability there will be extra knocks and bumps.
    While it’s perfectly understandable to have XP or Vista versions with HDD’s, not to have a Linux SSD version is a sign that the manufacturer concerned hasn’t thought through the whole concept of the mini notebook.

    It will be very interesting to see what combinations Acer and Dell will be offering.

  9. James Kendrick Friday, May 30, 2008

    JR, no I think they are two different markets. Mini-notebook will appeal to mainstream consumers and UMPCs will continue to be niche products.

  10. So, this is an interesting development. Both look nice on the outside, but the interiors look pretty poor. And well, Dell and Acer, not the best reputed brands in the industry, I must say.

    I’ll stick with the Wind for the moment, I think. You cannot beat that package for $400, plus, it looks like a mini-MacBook.

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