Now turning a netbook into a cheap tablet or UMPC isn't new, and we've seen plenty such mods before, but this so-called Harlequin project is something else. My Dell Mini forum member pakkei decided he couldn't wait for Microsoft to release the Courier and thought he'd make one himself, converting his Inspiron Mini 9 into a slate-format tablet and adding in a second, 9-inch USB touchscreen.
Dell is trying to give itself a green makeover to not only help the environment and give it more of a green reputation, but to save money as well by reducing the amount of packaging it uses. Dell has announced that it is now using renewable bamboo packaging for some of its products.
With the holidays fast approaching cell phone carriers are stocking up on inventory and amongst the new Motorola DROIDs, HTC Heroes, and Palm Pixies are a slightly larger, yet unfamiliar crop of devices – netbooks. AT&T is all giddy about its exclusive availability of the Nokia Booklet 3G and Sprint announced just yesterday that it will be selling the Dell Inspiron Mini 10V. Verizon already has three netbooks in its arsenal, including HP’s new powerful Mini 311. Clearly, lining up the selection isn’t a problem, but what the carriers haven’t figured out yet is that selling netbooks requires a totally different approach than selling phones. The deals and the subsidized model, in my mind, make as much sense for netbooks as building and then plowing a virtual Farmville farm!
Dell have announced their first netbook running Intel's Moblin platform, and it's available for developers to buy now. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10v Ubuntu Moblin Remix Edition is priced at $299 and comes with the usual Mini 10v specification - Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard-drive - but uses Canonical's combination of the core Moblin Version 2.0 interface, libraries, and applications with the internals of Ubuntu Linux 9.04.
Video demo after the cut
Dell may have canned their Inspiron Mini 12, but they've replaced it with a new CULV ultraportable in the shape of the Inspiron 11z. The new notebook has an 11.6-inch display running at 1,366 x 768, paired with Intel's Celeron 723 1.2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard-drive. Thanks to stepping up to CULV rather than Intel's Atom range, the 11z gets past the CPU/storage limitations the chip company insists upon; that should mean buyers get a more capable ultraportable for their money.
If there's one thing this dour economy is good for, it's pushing down prices. Walmart have just announced that they'll be offering a $298 notebook, the Compaq Presario CQ60-419WM, complete with a 160GB hard-drive and 3GB of RAM, from July 26th at 8am. The promotion is part of the retailer's back-to-school sale, and they're unsurprisingly warning that stocks will be limited.
Dell have announced that their Mini 10 netbook will get a GPS option next week in the US. The 10-inch netbook will be offered with Dell's Wireless 700 location solution as an option, which will use both a hardware GPS chip together with WiFi triangulation to acquire positioning data. They'll also include CoPilot.
You'll need more than a passing familiarity with the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 to spot the mod here, so we'll give you a hefty hint: it's the fingerprint reader in the right-hand side of the palm-rest. MyDellMini forum member Rich decided he wanted biometric login functionality in his netbook, so inserted the guts of an Eikon fingerprint reader into the Mini 9.
The 11.6-inch netbook/CULV segment continues to look to be the next area of growth in budget ultraportables, as display panel manufacturer Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) are tipped to have secured orders with both Dell and Samsung. The company has been demonstrating the 11.6-inch panel along with a 13.3-inch version intended for CULV machines at the Display Taiwan 2009 expo.
It might not quite match the 128GB SSD upgrade we saw performed on the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 back in April, but Active Media Products' SSD upgrade kit for the netbook is a whole lot more affordable. Promising either 16GB or 32GB of capacity running at twice the speed of the Mini 9's standard storage, they promise to be a straightforward swap.