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Will The Dell Mini 5 Be Dead Upon Arrival?

by Sean P. Aune | March 10, 2010

Dell is best known for being the biggest seller of desktops and laptops in the country, but it isn’t so well-known for being a manufacturer of handheld devices.  The company is obviously hoping to change that with the upcoming second quarter release of the Dell Mini 5.

On the off chance you haven’t heard of it yet, the new device will feature a five-inch (480 × 854) capacitive touchscreen, 1 GHz Qualcomm QSD 825 chip, running some form of Google’s Android operating system, front and rear cameras, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.  No price has been announced as of yet.

dellmini5landscapeThe question is, is this device too late coming to market?

Most people have been picturing the Mini 5 next to the iPod Touch, which it is significantly larger than, and while that may sound nice at first to have a larger screen to watch videos on, it also makes it a slight bit awkward.  Sure the iPod Touch screen may be a bit difficult to watch videos on, but it first in your pocket without a whole lot of effort, the Mini 5 is going to be a bit harder to do the same thing with.

The other problem is more about the fact the device seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis.  Is it a media player?  Is it a small tablet?  Is it a personal digital assistant (PDA)?  It can also work as a phone, but once you see the size of this thing compared to your hand, I can’t really imagine holding it up to your head for extended periods of time.  (yes, yes, Bluetooth, but you don’t always have one handy)  It almost feels like Dell went for overkill with this device and made it into the Swiss Army knife of ultra-portables, which may actually backfire as people will be confused by what needs it fulfills.

People understand what the iPad will be.  They understand what phones do.  They get the iPod Touch.  This, however, feels like a. “It’ll do everything, you’ll love it, you need it!”  I think a lot of that is going to depend on the pricing.  With Apple setting the entry level iPad at $499, and the biggest iPod Touch being $399 currently, Dell will have to position this device somewhere between those prices.  That doesn’t leave the company a whole lot of wiggle room.

It’s hard to say that this device will for sure be dead on arrival, but … I think it just might be.  It’s physically awkward and seems a bit too schizophrenic in its place in the market.  I might be wrong, but my gut is telling me the Mini 5 will have its fans, but if it’ll be enough to sustain it is up for question.

What say you?  Do you think the Mini 5 will find a market?


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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...


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