Although I still think it's of great symbolic value, the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 is disappointing – and I'm not just talking about the name (how many marketing people did it take to come up with that little gem?) It's disappointing, of course, because you can't yet buy the GNU/Linux version, but more seriously, it's disappointing because its price – at £299 for the Windows version, and a few tenners less one presumes for the GNU/Linux one – is just too expensive. It's pretty much the cost of an ordinary Dell laptop – which means that you're paying some kind of premium just because it's small and dinky.
Dell isn't alone in this. Many manufacturers jumping on the ultraportable bandwagon launched by Asus seem to have missed one of its key features: it's an impulse buy – well, in the affluent West it is. It's the kind of the thing you might buy on the spot with a credit card. A cost of almost £300 is too high for that, and I expect that Dell and its ilk will be disappointed with the sales of their machines, however nice they may look. They just miss the point.
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