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Dell ships Ubuntu- and Atom-based netbook

Sep 4, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Dell announced its first netbook, a $350 Intel Atom-based model loaded with Ubuntu Linux 8.04. The Inspiron Mini 9 offers a 1.6GHz Atom N270, up to 1GB SDRAM, an 8.9-inch, 1024 X 600 display, three USB ports, Ethernet, and a 4GB solid-state drive.

(Click for larger view of the Inspiron Mini 9)

Due to ship in a few weeks, the Inspiron Mini 9 is also available in a Windows XP version that offers more memory and storage in the standard configuration. The Atom N270 comes standard with 512MB, but can be expanded to 1GB, and the standard 4GB solid-state drive (SSD) drive can be expanded to 8GB or 16GB, says Dell. The company has connected with Box.net to offer 2GB of free online storage, which can be expanded by users to 25GB. Additional user-provided storage options appear to be available via the 3-1 Media Card reader and the three USB 2.0 ports.


Dell's Inspiron Mini 9

The Inspiron Mini 9 measures 9.1 x 1.1/1.2 x 6.8 inches and weighs only 2.3 lbs. The battery is said to last four hours. Additional options include an internal 802.11g WiFi mini-card, as well as Bluetooth 2.0, and a choice of two webcams.


The Inspiron Mini 9 comes in black or white ($25 extra)
(Click on either to enlarge)


Inspiron Mini 9 on tip-toes

Specifications listed for the Linux version of Dell's Inspiron Mini 9 include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom 1.6GHz (N270); 512KB L2 Cache; 533MHz FSB
  • Memory — 512MB DDR2 SDRAM expandable to 1GB
  • Graphics — Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
  • Display — 8.9 inch display (1024 X 600 resolution)
  • Storage — 4GB solid-state drive (SSD); 2GB free online storage from Box.net, expandable to 25GB
  • Expansion — 3-in-1 Media Card reader
  • Networking — 10/100 (RJ45) Ethernet
  • USB — 3 x USB 2.0
  • A/V — 15-pin VGA video connector; audio line out; audio mic-in; speaker
  • WiFi — 802.11g mini-card (optional)
  • Bluetooth — Bluetooth 2.0 mini-card (optional)
  • Camera — 0.3MP or 1.3MP webcams (optional)
  • Battery — 32WHr Battery (4 cell); four hours battery life; AC adapter connector
  • Weight — 2.3 lbs
  • Dimensions — 9.1 x 1.1/1.2 x 6.8 inches (232 x 27/32 x 172mm)
  • Operating system — Ubuntu Linux 8.04 (also available with Windows XP Home Edition SP3)

Netbooks to be subsidized by 3G carriers?

Small form-factor netbooks have been an increasingly popular segment of the laptop industry of late, according to a recent reports from Gartner and Market Intelligence Center (MIC). Meanwhile, it seems as if a new netbook is announced almost every week, as is evident in our burgeoning Linux Netbooks Showcase.


Mini 9 keyboard
(Click to enlarge)

Yet, PC vendors are increasingly concerned that the low-cost netbooks leave them with very limited margins. In a ZDNet blog by Larry Dignan, Dell CEO Michael Dell is quoted as saying that netbooks will eventually be subsidized by wireless telecom carriers that would sell the devices equipped with 3G cards and service plans.

According to the story, Dell made the remarks yesterday at a Citigroup Technology Conference, where a Citigroup report was released that forecast netbooks will account for about a third of global notebook sales. “Telcos will embrace it,” Dell was quoted as saying. “It's the type of product that could easily take advantage of data.”

The Inspiron Mini 9 does not appear to offer a standard cellular option, but would certainly appear to support an add-on card. Last week LG Electronics announced a netbook that sports a built-in HSPA (high speed packet access) modem, and may be available from carriers in subsidized form. Earlier in August, the UK carrier Orange began giving away the popular Asus Eee PC 900 netbook, along with a USB-based 3G/GPRS modem, to any customers signing up for two years of service. Not including postage charges, the deal costs 25 UK pounds per month, or approximately $1080 over the life of the contract.

Dell has been offering a select number of Ubuntu Linux laptops for several years, and recently announced several new models that ship with Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron). The company also recently announced new Latitude notebooks that offer what appears to be a Linux-based quick-boot implementation called Latitude ON. The technology run embedded Linux on a separate low-power embedded processor, enabling users of the Windows-based Latitude E4200 and E4300 to quickly access the Internet, check email, and a few other functions without booting Windows.

Availability

The Linux version of the Inspiron Mini 9 should be available at a starting price of $350 within a few weeks, says Dell. More information may be found here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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