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'Netbook' computers coming to market

Dell mini computer

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: The computer company Dell may be up to something today. Word on the street -- well, the Web -- is that Dell will unveil a new laptop computer today. Mitchell Hartman has more.


Mitchell Hartman: It's a laptop, it's a souped-up cell phone -- well actually, it's neither. These new so-called "netbook" computers are really ultra-compact wireless PCs. They've got a small flip-top screen -- say 10 inches across -- and a stripped-down keyboard. They weigh in at just a few pounds.

Technology analyst Jayson Noland of Robert Baird & Company says what they lack in computing power, they make up for in convenience.

Jayson Noland: These devices are so small, they don't have a lot of storage capacity on them. So you have to use the Internet cloud for a number of things that would typically be resident on some of the larger, more expensive notebooks today.

And the price point is an eye-opener. One report says Dell's will retail for as little as $299. Others are in the $400 to $600 range. Dell declined to comment on its product unveiling, scheduled for later today.

Retail analysts note that Dell and other computer makers have mostly missed the boat for back-to-school sales of netbooks. So expect a big splash when the holiday shopping season comes around.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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