Dell Confirms It Has A Mini-Notebook

Though details aren't finalized, Michael Dell's prototype includes three USB ports, a card reader, a VGA out, and an Ethernet connection.

Dell's Upcoming Mini-Notebook

Dell has confirmed that it has built a mini-notebook that would compete with similar ultra-portable machines from Hewlett-Packard and Asus.

While acknowledging the upcoming product exists, Dell has declined to provide details other than screenshots of the device on the company's blog. "Stay tuned for details" is all a company spokeswoman would say.

CEO Michael Dell sparked news reports of the mini-notebook when he showed the device on Wednesday to blogger Brian Lam of Gizmodo at The Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference. Beyond giving a quick look at the candy red notebook, Dell declined to give any details.

Lam, however, said he saw three USB ports, a card reader, a VGA out, and an Ethernet connection. VGA, or video graphics array, refers to the hardware in a computer for connecting to an external display.

While the actual size of the device hasn't been disclosed, the notebook appears small enough to compete with HP's 2133 and Asus' Eee PC. The HP machine sports an 8.9-inch display, and the Eee PC comes in an 8.9- and 7-inch model.

Asus sparked the sub-$500 mini-notebook craze with the introduction of the Eee PC in October 2007. Since then, the Taiwanese company has sold more than 350,000 units, and said it's on track to sell between 3 million and 5 million notebooks by the end of this year.

While sales have been strong among computer enthusiasts, the ultra-low-cost notebooks are expected to eventually find their place in the mainstream PC market as an inexpensive option for students and as a second computer for accessing the Web on the road at Wi-Fi hotspots, according to IDC.

Worldwide shipments will grow from less than 500,000 units last year to more than 9 million in 2012, IDC predicts. Because of low average selling prices, revenue will be less than $3 billion. As a percentage of the total consumer PC market, the devices will remain under 5% through the forecast period.