Over the last few weeks. we’ve been adding more features and options to the Inspiron Mini 10, which will allow folks to personalize the popular companion device even more like a 720p HD edge-to-edge display, a bigger battery option and five Design Studio choices from Tristan Eaton. For customers in the United States and Canada, today we’ve added Ubuntu as an OS option (starting price of $399) with additional hard drive options..
We’ve been tweaking the Dell-designed user interface on the Linux version of the Mini 10. For those of you who have never seen our unique UI, the best way to explain it is that it is activity-based. Our goal all along with our Ubuntu interface is to take the application out of the equation. Instead we are paving the way for people to interact with the Mini based on what they want to do – e.g. I want to browse the Internet, I want to look at pictures, I want to chat with my family, I want to play a game of Solitaire, etc. We’ve taken feedback from customers of the Mini 9 and Mini 12 and made some updates to the UI on the Mini 10, to make it more visually appealing.
For a more visual explanation, here’s a vlog from Doug Anson, Dell’s Linux technology strategist:
The Linux version of the Mini 10 also gets some additional hard drive options, 32GB ($75) and 64GB ($125) solid state disc (SSD) drives. The Windows XP Mini 10 won’t get these hard drive options for now due to some original restrictions around what level of hardware can be offered on netbook-type devices – these guidelines are adjusting as the category grows.
For the social media mavens and students who are on the go all day, the best news is we’ve added a 6-cell battery option ($30) for the Mini 10 that provides around eight hours of battery life (based on MobileMark 2007 and Linux BLTK (Battery Life Toolkit) v1.08) – mileage may vary based on configuration, settings, activities etc. We’ve also added a bigger 3-cell option (28WHr)($15) that gets about 25 percent longer battery life (just under four hours) than the base 24WHr battery. Obviously for a device like the Mini, battery-life is critical, so that’s why Dell offers two Minis that are capable of getting around eight hours – the Mini 12 also offers a 6-cell extended battery option.
We recently expanded the pallet of external personalization options an individual can choose from to customize the Mini 10’s exterior. Joining the original six colors (standard Obsidian Black and Alpine White, or optional Cherry Red, Jade Green, Ice Blue, and Promise Pink- $40) are five original images by Tristan Eaton (The Muse in Purple and Orange and Stickers in Green, Black and Blue- $60). For those of you looking for a Mother’s Day gift (hint, hint), remember a purchase of any of the Promise Pink Minis generates a $5 contribution to the Susan G Komen For the Cure.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a feature we added a few weeks ago – an HD display ($35). The key benefits of this display are you can view more content on the display at one time – a LOT more content (around 70 percent more). So, even if you plan to just use it for e-mail and web applications, seeing more content is a useful thing. Besides that, the HD screen also delivers richer colors and wider viewing angles (meaning you can share the movie with the person sitting next to you if you want.)
For those of you who have read the fine print on the Design Tab on the Mini 10 product page will know we still have a few rabbits to pull out of our hat, including a 2GB memory option and built-in TV ATSC Tuner. I’ve confirmed they are on the way – and actually the Mini 10 with a built-in DVB-T tuner will be available Europe in the near future.
I’ll close with this. In the near future my colleague Lionel will post a “Dummy’s Guide to the Atom Processor” as there are two versions out there: the Zxxx series (a.k.a. Silverthorne) and Nxxx series (a.k.a. Diamondville). In general, if you are planning on using a netbook device for video playback you should look for a device powered by the Z-series processor family, as it can handle hardware decode of 720p content and with Cyberlink codecs (which we do include on the Mini) can decode most of the more popular video formats. It also, surprisingly enough, contributes to better battery life because of lower power consumption. Both the Mini 10 and the Mini 12 are based on the Z-series Atom processors, and that’s all I’m going to say about that – stay tuned for Lionel’s post with more details.