Dell to do OLPC/Asus act, with mini notebook: Fit for E?

image Remember the disappearing PDAs? Sales slumping and all that. Maybe I’ve solved the mystery. They’re all turning into mini notebooks—perhaps the next mass e-reading platform, along with cell phones and, yes, yes, E Inkers.

Latest MN entrant is Dell, maker of the fire-engine-red Mini Inspiron that Michael Dell showed off. From Gizmodo: “It’s a small form factor notebook, justĀ  like the Asus Eee and the HP 2133. He wouldn’t tell me what OS it’s running, or imagethe pricing, but that it’s a low-cost notebook meant for developing countries, and I hope here. Maybe it’s Atom-powered. Who knows? But I do see three USB ports, a card reader, VGA out, Ethernet, and that red candy shell. I couldn’t tell how big the screen was before it was tucked away into a black sleeve and ushered from the building, but it’s small.” And, yes, as you can see from the photo to the right, it comes in different colors—lest you draw the attention of a CPU cop who’ll ticket you for overclocking.

image So, the curious e-book nut pipes up, what’s the screen res?

A little good news for PDF fans: At least the screens of the mini notebooks are much larger than PDAs displays—and that reduces the need for left to right scrolling, although things still can get messy. Also many of the minis come with Windows options, making it possible to use DRM-infested Adobe software.

The obvious matching automobile: Photo above.

As I see it (modified addendum, updated 12:28 p.m.): No, the Dell and Asus minis probably aren’t intended most of all for Bangladesh, but rather mainly for domestic markets in affluent countries. But who knows? Having taken another look at the quote, I do think Branko has a point in wondering about the suitability of the Dell hardware. Here in the States, performance matters. Out in the boonies overseas, low power consumption could.

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About David Rothman (6820 Articles)
David Rothman is the founder and publisher of the TeleRead e-book site and cofounder of He is also author of The Solomon Scandals novel and six tech-related books on topics ranging from the Internet to laptops. Passionate on digital divide issues, he is now pushing for the creation of a national digital library endowment.

6 Comments on Dell to do OLPC/Asus act, with mini notebook: Fit for E?

  1. Why would people in developing countries need a tiny laptop like that?

  2. Hi, Branko. See addendum to post. The overlap isn’t so much in market as in size and costs (at least somewhat less than a regular laptop’s). Thanks. David

  3. Marcus Sundman // May 29, 2008 at 9:52 am //

    I used to have a FlyBook (a flip-tablet laptop about the size of an A5), and while it was so small that I loved having it with me whenever I carried a bag, it’s still too heavy to be comfortable to read from. 1 kg is not much for a laptop, but it’s too much for a book.

  4. Marcus: People might want to check out Wikipedia on the FlyBook. Thanks. May all these gizmos do as much for E as I’m hoping. I think it would be silly to rely on one product or even one kind of hardware platform to be “the iPod of e-books.” David

  5. See addendum to post.

    Hm. In the post the direct quote still says that this machine is “meant for developing countries.”

  6. You’re right, Branko. It is in the quote, and the question you raise is valid. Tweaked the addendum. Thanks for the catch. David

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