Dell scraps 12" Netbook range

Reports are surfacing that Dell has decided to discontinue its 12" Netbook range. According to Dell, its decision is based on a perceived 'sweet spot' by consumers of 10" screen sizes for the netbook market.

Lionel Menchaca, the Chief Blogger on Dell's US website gave the following statement after the news was reported on news bulletin websites:

So, should you read anything into this as far as Dell's commitment to the netbook space? Nope. It really boils down to this: for a lot of customers, 10-inch displays are the sweet spot for netbooks. That's why we offer two different 10-inch Inspiron netbooks for Mini 10 and the Mini 10v. And on the Latitude side, the Latitude 2100 netbook is finding a home in schools all over the place. Portability is one of the key points for netbook customers. Larger notebooks require a little more horsepower to be really useful. More to come from Dell on that later.

But back to the subject of netbooks.The Inspiron Mini 9 is available again on for the time being. I tried to reach the Mini 9 to see how long she'd be around, but she wasn't available for comment like she was last time.

This seems like a fair reason to disband a line of products, however some on the internet disagree. Famous blogger Michael Arrington posted an article on TechCrunch giving his thoughts on the situation.

In short, Arrignton argues that this makes no sense. He states in his article that it requires no additional hardware horsepower to power a 12" netbook versus a 10" netbook. "It only costs a few more dollars to build a 12 netbook and users get s bigger screen with the same performance." This fact lies in stark contrast to what Intel perceive as the future for netbooks: "If you've ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size–it's fine for an hour. It's not something you're going to use day in and day out."

Arrington goes on to suggest that perhaps Dell has other reasons for disbanding the middle sized netbook. He argues soundly that it could be the fact that Intel is pressuring OEMs to build netbooks with 10" or smaller screens due to the fact that it keeps people in the Dual Core market, where there are higher profit margins for Intel. In short, if you want a larger screen, you have to invest in a Dual Core machine. Intel prices Atom chips based on the size of the device's screen: anything over than 10" is priced higher.

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