Dell E will cost $299 in August, prompts mini-notebook navel gazing

dell_mini.jpg

A mere three months ago, I was actually excited about mini-notebooks. I thought they were wonderful: a complete rejection by the laptop industry that a small, light weight yet still capable laptop should be priced, ounce-for-ounce, alongside Gallium. Now? I could basically write a post about any one of them entirely in TextExpander scripts.

In theory, I’m still interested in mini-notebooks: I desperately want one, I think they’re neat. But as every Asus imitator spills their sloppy second Eee-clones to market, mini-notebooks have just become indistinguishable from one another… for a period of a month, one mini-notebook rules them all, and then it’s quickly swept aside by a superior model with marginally better specs. Right now that’s the Wind.

Plunging my eyes deep into my puckered blogging omphalos, what’s distressing as a writer as that at one point I was really passionate about mini-notebooks. Now I don’t care: there’s a million competing products, all doppelgangerous, and there’s just nothing left to say except to repeat the specs and the price. How many times can you make the same points? Mini-notebooks are great in theory, but they all look the same, the battery life is still abysmal, and as cheap as they are, they are more expensive than they should be.

About the only mini-notebook I’m still excited about is the Dell E. Although the name is a testament to Dell’s own bereft imagination, the design eschews the plasticky opalescence of the Eee / Wind school of mini-notebook design for bright colors and sleekness. But it looks like Dell’s finally going to deliver on the price: according to the Digitimes, when the E is released in August, it’ll cost a paltry $299. Dell is effectively delivering on Asus’ own broken pricing promises.

It’s looking pretty clear that this month’s Wind excitement is going to be trumped by the E’s release next month. But I think that’s the cycle we’re going to see — flavor of the month mini-notebooks. That’s not surprising, although it is depressing to watch the new mini-note market go from exciting to mundane within a couple months… the same path as cell phones and digicams traveled before it.

Dell said to be planning launch of low-cost notebook in August [Digitimes]

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13 Responses to Dell E will cost $299 in August, prompts mini-notebook navel gazing

  1. Daemon says:

    I’m with #7. “Boring” means avoiding the apple iTrend of charging extra for the privledge of owning their stuff because it’s hip and cool.

  2. michaelportent says:

    So damn excited about this. I think for what it is, you couldn’t really ask for more.

  3. Halloween Jack says:

    Plunging my eyes deep into my puckered blogging omphalos

    eww, TMI

  4. paulthekindd says:

    They are so ravishing. I am going to get one in every color.

  5. Bobsledboy says:

    I want someone to make a mini-notebook that weighs as much as my macbook; the extra weight being composed entirely of battery.

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    The “E Video Plus” is the nicer of the three specs-wise and the one I want…in black.

    What’s cool is that the timing will likely allow for one to be piggybacked with a new Desktop, providing for a possible birthday gadgety nerdgasm of epic proportions for me this year.

    (Whee!)

  7. Benny says:

    I lost the point of mini notebooks the more I look at smart phones and iphone/iclones, what’s the point of a tiny notebook if they cost more then a phone, but offers about the same amount of function?

    (you can say keyboards, but I think we all agree that it’s more of a thumb-pad)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Add weight to you focus. I’m looking at size, WEIGHT, usable keyboard, price, then performance.

    Even at 3.5 pounds, my laptop turns into an anchor after a few hours. I’ll suffer longer boot times and reasonable performance for less impact on my shoulder!

  9. Darcy Casselman says:

    Isn’t it good that these things have become boring? So long as they’re not abysmally designed, I *want* these things to become commoditized so that all they have to compete on is price.

    I don’t want gadget bloggers fantasizing about stuffing them down their pants; I want a cheap, mobile, utilitarian computing platform.

  10. wastrel says:

    Benny:

    keyboards

    the eeepc keyboard is too small for me, i’m hoping dell has managed to hit the sweet spot

    larger display

    regardless of the resolution, 2.5″ screens are too damn small for some things.

    peripherals
    don’t need a service plan

    it’s a different class of device.

  11. Rajio says:

    Boring? How distinguishable do you want them to BE from one another?! as it stands they hold well to direct comparison and dont have extra crap people don’t want. or extra costs.

    …want to jazz it up? mod it, or buy some stickers.

  12. caipirina says:

    This probably is the reason why Apple has avoided that bandwagon
    and will probably (unfortunately) never jump onto it …

    i;d love to see something like that running REAL leopard (not some hack) … but that can only come from apple and their pricetag would be more like 599$

    sigh

  13. airshowfan says:

    I for one think that things get MORE exciting once there are many competing products. It means you have more variety to choose from, prices are lower, and everyone struggles to come up with creative features that set them apart (and the to copy everyone else’s creative features, sometimes getting them better than the creator). It’s that way with cell phones (several years ago they all looked pretty much the same, but now you can get something simple, or something trendy, or something that’s effectively a computer that fits in your hand) and digital cameras (a few years ago they all looked pretty much the same, but now you can get something really tiny, or 18x optical zoom, or a dSLR, or anything in between).

    This probably is the reason why Apple has avoided that bandwagon and will probably (unfortunately) never jump onto it …

    Um, yeah, like with cell phones…

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