Dell’s 10-inch netbook has gotten an upgrade. The new Dell Mini 10 will implement Intel’s 1.66GHz Pineview Atom N450 processor, replacing the current Mini 10 and 10V which use Z520 and N270 processors. The Mini 10 will be offered starting January 7th with your choice of Windows 7 or Ubuntu Linux. In addition to the processor upgrade, the Mini 10 will change some features, adding in a new textured palm rest and scrapping the multi-gesture capabilities of the trackpad. However, the integrated trackpad buttons will remain.
A few optional features have also become available with this new model. They include 3G or GPS Bluetooth, Broadcom Crystal HD Solution software, and a built-in TV tuner. The battery can now also be upgraded to a 6-cell battery. Luckily, the base price of the netbook will remain the same at $299.
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Though the Atom N270 and N280 CPUs are king in the netbook industry, the Atom N450 might not swoop into the market quite so readily. Why?
It turns out that some manufacturers are feeling reluctant to mass produce until they know what big players like ASUS and Acer are planning in terms of new netbook offerings. Unfortunately, bulk availability of the N450 might take until the first half of 2010 even though engineering samples of the Intel N450 are readily available.
Demand for netbooks was lower than expected in the first half of 2009, due in part to segment saturation and the bumps of a rickety economy. Vendors are taking the hit in stride, but tend to prefer a cautious attitude and watch the heavyweights before throwing money at R&D.
Q4 2009 should bring Acer and ASUS’ announcements concerning the Atom N450, as well as increased commitment by manufacturers of the new Intel CPU.