Print 24 comment(s) - last by tumby1974.. on Apr 11 at 12:17 PM

Dell wants a piece of the sub-$500 low-cost notebook market

The low-cost, sub-notebook market is just about to get even more crowded in the coming months. ASUS took a risk by entering the market late last year, but it appears that many major manufacturers are now looking to cash in on the low-cost gravy train.

Yesterday, DailyTech reported that HP is stepping up to the plate with its aluminum-clad, VIA-powered 2133 Mini-Note PC. The 8.9" notebook offers a wide variety of processor speeds ranging from 1.0GHz to 1.6GHz along with solid-state drive (SSD), 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM HDDs.

Today, we've learned that Dell will soon enter the fray with a Compal-manufactured 8.9" sub-notebook. Compal will have the capacity to ship 200,000 to 300,000 of the notebooks to Dell each month beginning in early June.

The launch of Dell's new sub-notebook will coincide with the availability of Intel's new Atom processors which are destined to take the mobile and consumer electronics markets by storm. The chips promise respectable performance with a TDP of just 4W on the Diamondville-based Atoms (8W TDP for dual-core versions) destined for low-cost PCs.

Michael Dell confirmed that his company is indeed working on the notebook when asked a question about HP's recently announced 2133 Mini-Note. "We will introduce a similar laptop," said Dell. "We do see opportunities for very interesting products that are smaller and lighter and address the more mobile users in a very cost-effective way."

Dell's entry will have some stiff competition by the time it arrives in June. The notebook will not only have to face the aforementioned HP notebook, but also the ASUS Eee PC 900, ECS G10IL, Everex CloudBook Max, Intel Classmate and a variety of other contenders.

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Interesting niche market
By wordsworm on 4/9/2008 9:39:01 AM , Rating: 2
For me, there are three important criteria to lure my painfully earned money - longevity of battery, weight/size, and fully sized keyboard. I couldn't care less if it plays a game. (although that won't stop some idiot from asking if it will play Crysis - please folks, that joke has been overdone.)
I was looking at an ad for an ASUS Eee, and in it was a child typing on it. It really does seem like a toy. Will these new machines that are coming out be targeting adults? In any case, it'll be interesting to see how low this market can go.

RE: Interesting niche market
By UNCjigga on 4/9/2008 11:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
I agree--I'm definitely in the market for one of these things but so far none of them has hit the perfect trifecta between:

- Screen: 8.9" minimum (though I'd like 10") with 1280x768 minimum resolution. Would be great if we could have a LED-backlit panel (might be cost effective given the small screen size?)

- Keyboard: as close to full-size as possible. So far HP's done it best. Backlit would be nice-to-have but not necessary.

- Battery: I won't even touch one unless I can get 6-8 hours of battery life with wifi on. That's what has me waiting for the Atom before I jump. The Dell might not have 6-8 hrs on the standard battery, but they should at least offer an extended battery option for those who want it.

RE: Interesting niche market
By murphyslabrat on 4/9/2008 2:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
Dell has the vostro 1400, which is a 14" notebook geared towards mobility, and starts at $599 with an extended battery. Their quote on battery-life with the 83w/h is almost 7 hours. So, aside from the relatively large size/weight, it seems like a good fit. I would get one if I didn't already have a Vostro 1000...without the extended battery. -_-

RE: Interesting niche market
By ImSpartacus on 4/9/2008 3:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, the Vostro line is amazing on value. Compared to their Inspiron counterparts, the Vostro offer more for less money and the funny thing is, the Vostro is better. No bloatware, Dell's business support team (better than consumer) and it's black (black > silver and you know it)!

The EEE and its like still have a market though. Vostros are bricks.

RE: Interesting niche market
By rdeegvainl on 4/9/2008 3:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
I had to setup a few of the Vostro's for a new shop, and they look great and my overall opinion of them is much higher than alot of other dells i've dellt with (see what I did there ;D), but these people bought them expecting them to outperform their old machines, which have a couple years on them. They may be new, but these people bought them for the wrong reasons and will be sorely disappointed.

RE: Interesting niche market
By Omega215D on 4/9/2008 6:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
You have just described those 11.1" Sony laptops (FZ?) of course you didn't mention price so it'll cost you $1800 or so for the base model.

This is where the Asus and HP are competitive with, the low price point.

By murphyslabrat on 4/9/2008 2:14:56 PM , Rating: 1

So, can it run Crysis on max settings?

By Freddo on 4/9/2008 9:37:04 AM , Rating: 2
Hope they will include a HDMI port. Sometimes it would be nice to hook up the device and use a large TV-screen instead.

By MGSsancho on 4/9/2008 1:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI has licensing cost of $10k a year and $0.25 per port. unless there is a huge HDMI logo on the package, then it would be $0.05 per port. if you want a sub-notebook to hook up to a HDTV, get a laptop capable of doing so.

By namechamps on 4/9/2008 5:32:29 PM , Rating: 3
Worst reasoning ever

HDMI licenses is per company not per product. Dell, HP, Asus, and virtually every CE company has had and will have HDMI license in future. It is money already spent.

HDMI logo has many authorized formats one of which is 1" square. Ever seen a computer box. Most have 10+ logos on them. What is one more? So total cost is $0.05 plus maybe $0.20 for the physical port on a $500 product. Oh noes.

Of course this assumes the chipset supports HDMI output to begin with. If it doesn't then the issue is moo.

By murphyslabrat on 4/9/2008 2:44:11 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, who the hell would want your Intel Graphics powering a 1920x1080 panel?!?!?

By Ajax9000 on 4/9/2008 7:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
If it is for (say) MS Office and linking to a 24" 1920x1200 LCD why not?

The OQO V2 has a 5" display, is 1 lb, and fits in an HDMI port ( ); so I personally regard the lack of digital video out on these 7-9" devices as rather stupid.

the only difference
By marvdmartian on 4/9/2008 9:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
The only difference between the Dell sub-$500 notebook and it's competitors will be the $500 coupon code it will take to get the price that low (don't worry, they'll issue one every week or so, to convince you theirs is the best deal), and the fact that when you call their tech support, you won't be able to understand the person on the other end of the phone!

RE: the only difference
By daftrok on 4/9/2008 11:10:24 AM , Rating: 2
RE: the only difference
By eye smite on 4/9/2008 1:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that was funny.

RE: the only difference
By murphyslabrat on 4/9/2008 2:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
I am on a workstation computer without flash, could someone describe it for me?

RE: the only difference
By crimson117 on 4/9/2008 3:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
It's a cartoon about calling tech support in india. I didn't find it particularly funny, though it had a few okay bits.

Dell Sub-notebook
By DEredita on 4/9/2008 11:37:00 AM , Rating: 2
I hope Dell does it right. HP's problem is their processor choice runs way too hot and only comes with Vista, and there is no news about a 8.9" Eee PC w/ an atom processor.

Hopefully, Dell is able to keep the price down and have a 1.6 GHz Atom Processor, Win XP, up to 2GB of ram (user upgradeable), ~9" LCD, and a small SSD drive (4GB-16GB) w/ SDHC expandability. That, in my honest opinion, would be the perfect travel laptop - inexpensive, good battery life, and great performance. I would definitely shell out $600 - $700 if Dell comes out with a sub-notebook with those specs.

Remember that when XP Home came out, it was running in machine with 400 MHz processors and < 128MB ram. A 1.6 GHz Atom, 2GB ram, and a SSD drive would make for a very peppy XP environment. Lets hope Dell doesn't bog their sub-notebook with Vista like HP decided to do. :(

RE: Dell Sub-notebook
By stlrenegade on 4/9/2008 1:35:32 PM , Rating: 2
For 550 bucks, you can get a decent Vostro setup that makes for an inexpensive travelling laptop. Plus it has a larger sized screen than those tiny ones. There comes a point where you have to wonder if surfing the web or writing a document is worth squinting over an 8in screen running 1024x768

RE: Dell Sub-notebook
By StevoLincolnite on 4/9/2008 2:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
They said the same thing about the gameboy when it was released, that games wouldn't work very well on the console because of the size of the screen. Several million units sold later, and several generations down the road...

RE: Dell Sub-notebook
By murphyslabrat on 4/9/2008 2:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
Argh, all you "little" people get on my nerves sometimes. It's like you're trying to accessorize with something.

No, in all seriousness, I had been using an old Fujitsu Lifebook B-2542 with a non-functional touchscreen. The only problems I had with it were short battery life, insufficient memory (a maximum of one 256MB low-density 144-pin So-DIMM, and you wouldn't believe how hard it was to track one down for less than $50), and a limmited resolution (800x600 internal max).

The size of the screen was not a problem at all, and, even with a 1280x800 screen, it shouldn't be that difficult to read stuff. Reading PDF books, I often had it zoomed out to 50% or less. In fact, the small size meant that I could carry it in a relatively small backpack. Now, with my new laptop (curse me and my buyers remorse), I had to get a bigger backpack to fit everything in. Not a real inconvenience, but my old bag was more comfortable.

The large size of my laptop even seems downright cumbersome, after having used my 10.4" baby for so long. It was like I was working on an honest-to-God book, instead of a computer that happend to be mounted on my lap.

RE: Dell Sub-notebook
By tumby1974 on 4/11/2008 12:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
If I'm not mistaken, I believe as the Game Boy has evolved, the screen has gotten slightly larger. I had an original Game Boy from 1987-1989 (can't remember which year it came out) and while it was a very entertaining system, there was a bit of eye strain to play. The non-backlit, non-color display didn't help much either.

By NerdHerder08 on 4/9/2008 9:36:29 AM , Rating: 2
But does the Intel Classmate have mass availability?

By ZombieRitual on 4/9/2008 12:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
"The low-cost, sub-notebook market is just about to get even more crowded in the coming markets."

Author probably meant months instead of markets?

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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