Dell launches the Inspiron Mini 12

We knew more Inspiron Minis were in the works, and Dell's just officially announced the next member of the family, the Inspiron Mini 12. Yep, the same machine we first spotted all the way back in June, and nothing much has changed in the meantime -- you're looking at either a 1.3GHz Atom Z520 or 1.6GHz Atom Z530 processor (a step up from the usual 1.6GHz Atom N270), up to an 80GB drive, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth / WiFi, and that 12-inch, 1280 x 800 display, all in a 2.72-pound package less than one inch thick. The bad news? It's Japan-only for now, but it'll hit the States late next month with a starting price under $600. That's a pretty hot price / performance ratio on paper -- if this thing performs like it should, it could potentially take away sales from more full-featured ultraportables like the Envy 133 and the MacBook Air. We'll see how it goes -- the netbook market suddenly got interesting again, eh?

Update: It's worth pointing out that this netbook runs Vista Home Edition, albeit sluggishly according to APC (XP and Ubuntu variants by end of year). It also ships standard with a 3-hour 3 cell battery or optional $79 6-cell battery for up to 6-hours of power.

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