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, just like the Asus Eee and the HP 2133. He wouldn’t tell me what OS it’s running, or the 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.
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.
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.