Thursday, August 6, 2009

The LAST Netbook Back-to-school Promotion EVER! (Dell's 10v Netbook Revisited)

Well you can’t fault Dell for putting their heart into the netbook fiasco.

A quick check of still reveals no fewer than 5 Netbooks in the Dell line.

  1. Mini 12
  2. Mini 10
  3. Mini 10v.
  4. Vostro A90 (the Mini 9 in disguise, perhaps they still had more to unload)
  5. Latitude 2100 Netbook (a new low for Latitude branding)

Not sure how the Mini 10 is “New” but okay.

The problem is this…

The LOWEST POSSIBLE PRICE on a netbook from Dell is $299 for a Mini 10v. Here’s the scoop on that underwhelming package.

  • 10.1″ screen
  • 1 gig of ram
  • 1.6 GHz Atom processor (designed for smart phones and that’s about the performance to expect)
  • Ubuntu (okay, but Dell has done something wonky to it so you can’t update it like a normal Ubuntu load)
  • 8 gig Solid State Drive (wow, I think an MS Office is bigger than that by itself)
  • 3-cell battery (you could add a 6-cell battery for $35, but who knows what that means?)
  • 1.3 mp webcam (my Blackberry Curve has a much better camera)
  • 802.11g wireless networking

That’s hardly a computer. I know it’s a NET-book, but that’s about it. You can see from all manufactuer’s “netbook” ads that they are not hyping the performance of these barely-usable devices.

The back of Fry’s newspaper ad yesterday has a REAL notebook, a Toshiba with an AMD Athlon processor for $379. Let’s see what you get for the extra $79 bucks. It’s definitely a hard time to be a computer manufacturer with a back stock of laptops.

  • 15.4″ screen
  • 2 gigs of ram
  • Athlon dual-core processor (a real processor designed to run Windows!)
  • Windows Vista Home (I’d rather have the “downgrade to xp, but okay)
  • 160 gig hd
  • DVD recordable drive
  • 802.11 b/g wireless

I’d say that’s a hard sell on the Dell-io. And if you are a parent planning on buying a Netbook for your student, STOP!

The cost savings are not worth it! Buy a real computer. Leave the netbooks for exotics who already have a real machine and want something bigger (not necessarily faster) than their mobile phones to carry around. The idea of syncing a laptop and a netbook has seemed like a problem from the start for me, but I’m not the target market. And I won’t be… Until…

Here’s what’s going to put the netbooks and the Kindle DX down for the count.

Picture 24

Apple’s iTablet. And it’s not a fantasy any more. Expected before the end of September, Apple’s entry into the lower-cost mobile computing market is too late to compete with the back-to-school promotions offered by Best Buy, Dell, HP, Fry’s and such. But mark my words. The Netbook mistake will be done by this time next year. If in 2010 we are still hearing about Atom-powered sub-compact netbooks will be gone, I’ll jump in the lake with my MacBook Pro in my hands. Even Android won’t be trying to deliver it’s magic on a “netbook.” Perhaps a “phone-book” or a “thin-book” but the dog days of sub-computing computing are done.

Happy computing.

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