It’s November, ladies and gentlemen, and you know what that means: it’s time to count down to Black Friday!
Huliq recently included netbooks on its list of what it expects to be the most popular items this Black Friday, and has uncovered some interesting hints about what we could expect this shopping season.
Word has it that a 9″ Linux netbook will be available for an insane $129 this year. This sounds like it could come in the form of a refurbished Dell Mini 9 or Eee PC 900 series netbook, depending on who’s doing the selling.
Another popular offering could be the 15.4″ Compaq CQ-139WM, which isn’t a netbook but runs a 160 GB HDD and 2 GB of RAM for only $298.
Gadgeteer Rob928 over at mydellmini has modded the hell out of his Dell Mini 9, converting it to a tablet PC. He worked his magic with a solderless touchscreen kit, and the results are quite frankly astounding.
He needed to strip off the lid and trim the hinges as part of the process. One technological challenge faced by the modder comes from a heating issue, one we noted in our Dell Mini 9 review – this little netbook vents heat through its keyboard, and with the screen upside down, it can get a little toasty.
Furthermore, he booted it with Windows 7. Nice!
Dell is trending towards the sale of larger-sized netbooks. Today, Dell stopped selling the Mini 9, which started selling in September 2008 for $349 but in recent weeks dropped to $249.
Dell is emphasizing netbooks with a minimum screen size of 10″ and larger keyboards. The company asserts that these changes are in response to customer feedback and preferences. Like many other computer manufacturers, Dell has been affected by the faltering economy and netbook sales have helped Dell keep its head above water.
According to market tracker IDC, Dell’s sales jumped seven-fold during the first quarter of 2009. ABI Research, another market tracker, predicts that shipments of netbooks will be in excess of 35 million and rise to roughly 139 million by the year 2013. The relatively low price tags of netbooks are making them more and more appealing purchases to consumers.
Image via NewTechnology.
For netbook users who do not want to drop big bucks on purchasing an Apple iMac or MacBook, being able to convert a netbook to a “Hackintosh” sounds like it would be a good idea. Two netbooks that are commonly used in this process are the Dell Mini 9 and the MSI Wind.
For Dell Mini 9 owners, instructions for converting your netbook into a Hackintosh (and more specifically, one that you don’t have to worry about losing since all personal data is kept in a location other than on the local hard drive) can be found here.
For MSI Wind owners, instructions on how to install the OS X operating system on this device can be found here. There has been discussion that a new Wi-Fi card would be needed to be installed on the Wind in order for it to operate correctly, but there has actually been an update to this.
Realtek (the manufacturer of the Wi-Fi cards in MSI Wind netbooks) has released an OS X driver for its Wi-Fi module. More details on this driver and where to obtain it can be found here. There will be no more need to switch out the existing Wi-Fi card in the Wind netbook.
The Inspiron Mini 9 is getting a stylish revisiting with a new series of color options offered by Dell. The colors include pink red and blue, a departure from the earlier model colors. Not only will the netbooks look a bit snappier, but they’re go towards a good cause; Dell is donating $5 for every pink Mini 9 purchased and donating it to the Susan G. Komen foundation for education and research on breast cancer.
The Mini 9 netbook is retailing for between $199 and $249, depending upon where you look, and sells with either Windows or Linux. It can be configured for up to 2 GB of RAM, twice as much as the standard formula offers. Another option is the 32 GB SSD, a nice addendum to the netbook package.
Also notable are the variety of Hackintosh possibilities tinkerers have found with the Mini 9.
However, on the subject of the netbook’s color, it’s often been said that the black version of the Mini 9 is particularly bad at hiding smudges. On the other hand, any color other than white or black will drop you an extra $35.
The Dell Mini 10, a 10-inch version of the Mini 9 and Mini 12 netbooks, has been announced since CES 2009. It’s finally out of production and will be available from Dell in the very new future. However, if you want your hands on one sooner, you’ll have to turn on your TV.
“The Mini 10 is scheduled to debut for advance orders (February 19) on QVC at 9 p.m. Eastern. A full Mini 10 overview is available at Dell.com, and the system will be available for purchase directly from Dell in the U.S. and other countries beginning February 26.”
This isn’t the first time QVC has embraced netbooks – the last instance was back in December. The at-home shopping channel seems to know how to market the things, so the Mini 10 should see wide circulation very soon.
The Dell Mini 10 starts at $399.
If the so-called “race to the bottom” phenomenon is really happening, Dell is the evidence. Dell’s newest iteration in the Inspiron Mini netbook series is the Dell Mini-9n. It’s about the lowest-powered netbook you can find, but it certainly doesn’t cost much.
According the Wired, the “n” is for “nothing”. That seems to be how much meat Dell left on the skeleton of its former, costlier netbook. The new Dell Mini-9n has less storage, memory, and no webcam. It offers 512 MB of RAM and a puny 4 GB SSD.
It’s dead cheap though, and if you think it’s good enough for you then Dell isn’t completely foolish after all. The netbook has retained the admirable keyboard and, of course, the display which beats out the MacBook’s.
Personally, I think anyone who doesn’t have a Dell fetish or extreme budget constraints might as well just go with any number of netbooks which aren’t ridiculously underpowered and are only a bit more expensive; for example, the Valentine’s Day Acer Aspire One.
We’ve reported news of the Dell Mini 10 before, but back during CES 2009 details were unfortunately scant. As promised, we’ve got a few more juicy tidbits for you about the new Dell netbook. They aren’t completely confirmed, but if they turn out to be true, we’re going to be seeing some seriously happy consumers in the near future.
The Dell Mini 10 netbook will have a 16:9 screen with 720p capability, and the potential for a built-in TV tuner. Could this mean HD TV on netbooks in the near future?
Both the 720p display and TV tuner are optional. Other options will include the choice of a 3- or 6-cell battery, and an Atom processor of either 1.3 or the traditional 1.6 GHz.
And – what’s this? – you can get an “optional DVD slice”! Optical drives have been almost completely absent from netbooks, with the exception of Mouse Computer’s LB-F1400W netbook. The optical drive-720p-TV tuner combo would make this new Dell netbook much more than a medium-sized Dell Mini-9 or Mini-12. It’s may very well be a hardcore mobile entertainment machine, and that has got us excited.
The only buzzkill at this point could be a massive pricetag or news that none of this is true, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled.
This isn’t the first time Dell has involved the Mini 9 netbook in some interesting deals, including the $99 AT&T netbook deal we covered on January 12th.
The model comes in Alpine White or Obsidian black. The machine runs a 1.6 GHz Atom processor, has 512 MB Ram, and comes with a 4 GB SSD drive. That isn’t huge, but at $178 you’re necessarily going to hit the low end. It runs Ubuntu Linux.
CNet’s instructions are concise and useful:
Once you land at the outlet store page, click Outlet Laptops, then Inspiron & Mini Laptops, and then Inspiron Mini. Under Inspiron Mini 9, click Continue, then Check Availability and Prices. In the ginormous list of recertified models that appears, click the Price column to sort low-to-high. You should see the aforementioned Mini 9 models for $209. Add the one you want to your cart, then apply coupon code $C$TXXP1CT3BLC to bring the price down to $177.65.
Amazingly, the refurbished netbook will get the year warranty that new models have.
There have already been reports of the coupon losing and regaining functionality, so get there fast and see what you can do. You may just end up with a super-cheap netbook!
Rob Galbraith is a photographer and camera reviewer, and according to Wired, he recently compared the Dell Mini 9 netbook to the 15″ MacBook Pro.
The big news? The Mini 9 beat the MacBook for color accuracy!
It wasn’t an all-out win, however. The Dell Mini 9 netbook had poorer viewing angles than the MacBook.
Galbraith’s problem was with the glossy glass screens Apple puts on its notebooks.
“For the longest time, Apple laptop displays ruled the roost around here. With very few exceptions, going back to the days of the PowerBook G4, portable Macs were considerably more colour accurate than any of the dozens and dozens of PC laptops we’d profiled […] Macs are no longer at the top of the laptop display heap in our minds.”
This is truly a victory for netbooks everywhere, or rather, a loss for Apple. The test also compared the ThinkPad T60 and ThinkPad W700, both notebooks by Lenovo. The ThinkPads alternated between first and second when compared for color accuracy and angle of view.
Apple machines are popular among photographers for image manipulation and other tasks, so a netbook beating it out is a humiliating loss.
The AT&T netbook deal we covered a few days ago is back in the news, and we have the specifics. If you buy a two-year contract with AT&T, you get a $99 netbook from their new partner, Dell: The Dell Inspiron Mini 9.
The Mini 9 gets a $350 mail-in rebate in the deal, bringing it from $449 to $99. It will have 3G connectivity provided by AT&T all the time, or if you prefer WiFi,, 802.11b/g networking. It sounds great, if you’re in the market for a netbook anyway.
The two-year plan is called the LaptopConnect plan, and sounds a whole lot like the Radioshack netbook deal we heard about in December. This offer is only good until January, so get on it while you can.
What do we know? It’s black, extremely thin, and unfortunately not a netbook. Officials wouldn’t confirm a processor, but said it will be for sale sometime in the first half of 2009.
Dell “focused heavily on the industrial design of the notebook, using top of the line materials.” While we don’t have much more than a taste of the Adamo for now, Dell said “it will have the better capabilities you’d expect.” I have no idea what that means.
The other big news? The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook, a 10-inch machine falling right in between the Dell Mini 9 and Dell Mini 12. This is the third Dell netbook in four months, a frightening rate to be churning out quality machines. Of course, the Mini 10 will be little more than a Mama Bear-sized version of the previous Inspiron Minis, but we can’t help but appreciate their diligence.
They made some comments about the possible cannabilization of their own machines, remaining positive. “The numbers are all over the map,” said Tatelman. “It’s safe to say in some ways (a Netbook) is analogous to a smartphone as a companion product.”
Dell also understands the versatility of netbooks. “In some places it’s a way to acquire new customers faster, in some places it’s a companion device, and in some places it’s a primary computer.” They don’t care which, as long as people are buying.
Other Dell CES releases include a $50 USB Digital Tuner for catching free TV broadcasts (available later this year) and the Wasabi handheld printer, offering the ability to print while mobile. Sounds good to us.
Last week there were some reports that Dell was hoodwinking everyone – its Inspiron Mini 9 netbook had a battery that performed like a three-cell rather than the four-cell they advertised. Everyone was angry, but Dell has stood by its claim.
Jay Pinkert of Dell blames third-party software used to test the batteries, and suggests that Dell is in agreement with him.
He summed it up as follows:
“The Inspiron Mini 9 is configured with, and has never shipped with anything but, 32WH batteries. A third-party test software program being used in the field doesn’t properly program every vendor’s battery to report power (versus current) capabilities, and so the utility is not properly reporting the actual battery capacity. We have confirmed this and all packs are 4-cell 32Whr, and will deliver more than 4 hours of battery life in typical usage.”
So, is it possible that the test software is to blame? As far as we know nobody’s opened up their battery and counted the cells in there, so there’s really no way just yet to test the claim.
We’ll be closely following Dell for now until we get some more info. And if you have a Mini 9 yourself, let us know – how has it been performing? What specs are you using? Hopefully this matter will be resolved soon.
Vodafone put a temporary stop on sales of Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbooks designed to run on the carrier’s 3G HSDPA network because the netbooks, which were supposed to be fitted with the standard 16B solid state drive, arrived with only an 8GB drive. The netbooks were also missing the promised copy of Microsoft Works Suite 2009.
MSI is one of the biggest netbook suppliers in the business and its Wind netbook is one of the most popular around. Laptop Magazine interviewed Andy Tung of MSI to see the company’s plans for CES 2009.
A new model is going to hit the market alongside the U100 Wind: the U120. This new machine is aimed at “more mature markets” – i.e., flashier design and higher cost. It sounds comparable to the recent Mini-9 updates or the Asus Eee 1002HA.
Expect WiMAX, and 3G for immensely easy connection on the new netbook. It should use a new Intel processor, a big deal considering the homogeneity of processors currently on the market: the Z530 instead of the Intel Atom.
Other announcements include the U300 which should feature a particularly thin and portable design as well as the U115 which will have a magnificent 10 hours of battery life.
Dell has decided to stick with the price drop it tested on Black Friday. The Mini-9 netbook retailed for $299, and is still available for that price.
The Mini 9 is available in Obsidian Black or Alpine White, or a few other colors for an additional cost. The Mini 9 runs Ubuntu Linux and has 512 MB RAM, a 4 GB SSD, and an 8.9″ LED. For an extra $35 you can upgrade the solid state drive to 8 GB – a choice we recommend.
Though the Mini-12 is already on the market, the Mini-9 is still making news. We’ve covered it before but the netbook just keeps on popping up – something to be expected from such a successful machine. Reviewers have loaded praise on the netbook, particularly noting its excellent battery life which distinguishes it from such competitors as the Acer Aspire One or MSI Wind.
As part of a new recent trend towards accessibility and efficiency, Dell has announced that its Inspiron Mini-9 will be available with 3G broadband.
CEO Michael Dell confirmed the company’s intentions to sign up more wireless providers for its new netbooks, though he did not specify when.
For a mere $125, Mini-9 netbooks in the United States will be set up to feature WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network). However, that’s not the best part: AT&T is offering a $120 rebate on it if you sign a two-year contract!
While exciting, the new offer is only going to be available on the newer, XP-running versions of the Mini-9.
The new announcements aren’t only coming from Dell; Taiwanese computer company Acer has some things to say as well. Acer, producer of the well known Acer Aspire One A110, had a big role in getting the netbook ball rolling in the tech industry.
Acer’s Scott Lin announced that the netbooks of the company are expected to get bigger and cheaper in 2009. The new Aspire One will take on a 10″ form around February or March of the coming year, a departure from the earlier Aspire One which only measured in at 8.9 inches. Analysts have suggested this is a move to try to take up more space in the market which, though in a sense started by Acer, is now owned by the Dell Mini netbooks, the Eee PC, and MSI’s Wind.
As Black Friday draws closer, new netbook announcements seem to be coming out at light speed. We’re definitely pumped to see what else is coming soon.