Practical Technology

for practical people.

The Dell Ubuntu-powered Mini-Notebook is on its way


Gizmodo is reporting that they’ve laid their hands on the specifications sheets for Dell’s forthcoming Inspiron 910. While I haven’t seen these documents myself, what Gizmodo reports is pretty much what my sources at Dell have been telling to expect from their UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC).

In short, the approximately two-pound Insprion 910 will run both Ubuntu Linux 8.04 and Windows XP Home SP2. It’s worth noting that Ubuntu Linux is actually friendlier with Windows-based business networks than XP Home, which is limited to peer-to-peer networking. So, if you’re thinking about using the Inspiron 910 for office use, you’ll actually want to use Ubuntu.

According to Gizmodo, the Dell Inspiron 910 will use the Intel Atom 270 Diamondville CPU. This chip is already being used in some UMPCs such as the MSI Wind and the Acer Aspire. Dell’s CPU is said to run at 1.6GHz.

The system will also come with either 512MBs or 1GB of RAM. For storage, Gizmodo reports that it will come with a choice of 4, 8 or 16GB SSD (solid state drives). My understanding, however, is that there will also be an option for a conventional 80GB hard drive.

The display will be not quite nine-inches—8.9-inches. Graphics will be supported by the Diamondville’s built-in 945GSE graphics. While this is more powerful than the typical Celeron laptop’s 915, no one is going to be doing heavy-duty graphics on this system.

For ports, both Gizmodo and I expect to see 3 USB ports, an RJ-45 10/100Mbps Ethernet port and a media-card reader. The Inspiron 910 will also support 801.11b/g Wi-Fi. For a UMPC, this is a goodly number of ports.

Gizmodo writers wrote, “We still don’t know whether or not that $299 starting price is just a myth.” I don’t know what the price is either, but I think I can pretty safe in saying that price is a myth. I expect to see it with a minimum price-tag of $399.

And when will we see it? I had expected to see it in early August at LinuxWorld, but it wasn’t there and Dell remained mum on a release date. Gizmodo expects that it will ship on August 22nd. I think, however, that while Dell would have liked to have made that date for the going back to school crowd, it will actually ship sometime later in late August or early September.

One way or the other we will all find out for sure sometime before September’s end. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing, and using, the 910.