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Dell Set To Unveil Mini-Notebook This Week

The upcoming Inspiron 910 is expected to support solid-state drives up to 16 GB, weigh as little as 2.2 pounds, and run either Ubuntu Linux or Windows XP.

Dell on Tuesday said it would unveil its first mini-notebook this week, officially taking on Hewlett-Packard and others in the emerging market for sub-10-inch, ultra-light laptops.

Other than confirming the new product's scheduled introduction, a Dell's spokeswoman declined to provide details on what's probably the worst kept secret on the Web. Gadget enthusiast sites have been leaking details on the device, expected to be called the Inspiron Mini 9, for the last couple of weeks. The launch date could be as early as Thursday.

According to spec documentation obtained by the site Gizmodo, the Inspiron 910 will support solid-state drives up to 16 GB, weigh as little as 2.2 pounds, and run either Ubuntu Linux or Windows XP. In addition, the device will include a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, up to 1 GB of memory, an 8.9-inch screen, three USB 2.0 ports, Wi-Fi support, and a built-in camera.

In answer to an e-mail request for comment, a Dell spokeswoman declined to discuss the reported specs, saying, "What's on Gizmodo is still pretty much rumor and speculation," she said.

Indications are that Dell may try to differentiate its product with packaged services. For example,, an online service for file storage and collaboration, is expected to ship pre-installed on the Mini 9.

Shipments of mini-notebooks, defined as sub-$500 lightweight PCs with screen sizes 10 inches or less, are predicted to show strong growth over the next few years. Expected to attract buyers are the devices' size, ease of use and low cost.

Worldwide shipments are on pace to reach 5.2 million units this year and 8 million units next year, according to market researcher Gartner. Manufacturers could ship as many as 50 million of the devices in 2012.

Mini-notebook makers today include HP, Lenovo, Asustek Computer, Acer, and Micro-Star International.

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