updated 07:45 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2011
Dell drops Mini line after short history
Dell has formally but quietly backed out of the netbook category. A search for netbooks like the Mini 10 gives users a warning that the Mini line is "no longer available." In return, buyers are told to pick the much larger Inspiron 14R.
Its closest equivalent to a netbook, the Inspiron Duo, is still listed but won't be available until near the end of the holidays.
In a response to questioning at The Verge, marketing lead Alison Gardner made clear that the focus would be on slim notebooks and ultrabooks. "Thin and powerful is where it is at for us," she said.
The exit follows not long after rumors of Samsung quitting netbooks, although it may still have one or two models at the start of 2012. Tablets, primarily the iPad, have mostly silenced the netbook market by accomplishing many of the same goals but in a much lighter, easier to use, and at times subjectively faster design.
Ultrabooks, where Dell doesn't truly participate yet, are meant to bring some of the instant-on and lightweight properties of tablets to the notebook space, but without sacrificing the speed that frequently ruled out netbooks from being used in serious tasks. Apple's MacBook Air pioneered the category and currently leads in share. [via MyDellMini]