updated 11:50 am EDT, Mon April 6, 2009
Dell Inspiron Mini 11 Leak
A new Dell roadmap leaked this weekend has at least partly confirmed plans by Dell to introduce one of the first systems based on Intel's CULV platform. Slotting in between netbooks and regular notebooks, the Inspiron Mini 11 discovered by NetbookNews would have an 11.6-inch display as well as "laptop like" performance and input, but in a design that would remain thin and light. It would also use Windows Vista and could potentially replace the Mini 12 as a result.
Breaking Microsoft's imposed restrictions on netbooks should also let Dell provide adequate hardware while still keeping the price low. The Mini 11 will have about 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive; it should also start at about $499, or less than Intel's own estimates as well as some competing netbooks.
The plan is also the first to give an indication of the likely direction for CULV, which is meant to open ultraportables to the mainstream rather than to require very high-end systems and matching prices. Companies like Apple and Sony have generally resisted entering netbooks due to cramped input, too-small displays and performance well below their typical lineups. CULV should at least partly address this issue, as it promises both faster performance as well as screen sizes that will normally sit between 11 and 15 inches.
In addition to the Mini 11 leak, the roadmap shows an expanded lineup for the Mini 10 that would include an upgraded model, the 1010, that allows for up to a 1.86GHz Atom and 2GB of memory. It would also get the choice of Vista (with 2GB of RAM) and the expansion options promised when the Mini 10 was launched. A second version, the 1011, would behave more like the original version, would be limited to at most a 1.6GHz chip and 1GB of memory; it would get the option of an Ubuntu Linux model with 512MB of memory and a 120GB hard disk.
Specific timetables for the launch of these systems haven't been given, though Dell's first CULV systems are believed in the works for the summer.