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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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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.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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