Dell mini computer
Dell mini computer - 
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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.

Follow Mitchell Hartman at @entrepreneurguy