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Dell has officially discontinued its Inspiron Mini line of netbooks as it shifts focus to higher-margin products. Speaking to The Verge, Dell's Marketing Director Alison Gardner revealed the company will not be releasing new netbooks based on Intel's forthcoming Cedar Trail platform, and was forthcoming about the company's future strategy saying that "thin and powerful is where it is at for us."
Currently, the company is pushing the $400 Inspiron 11z notebook as an alternative on the product page for the Mini, which is only available as part of a limited clearance sale, as well as the Inspiron 14R starting at $500. It's unclear if the company will be offering other products in the $300-$400 price bracket going forward.
The move shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given how little the form factor has evolved since the early days. It seemed every one of these tiny laptops was running the same underpowered hardware under the hood and there wasn't a lot that OEMs could do to differentiate due to netbook's thin profit margins.
Now, Intel and notebook manufacturers are now pushing a new breed of PCs dubbed 'Ultrabooks', which are thin and light systems with plenty of power, fast SSD storage, and long battery life. They're essentially the Windows version of Apple's MacBook Air and we expect a flood of them to be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – where Dell will most likely shed more light on its future plans.
Samsung is also rumoured to be ditching its netbooks next year in favor of more powerful (and profitable) ultra-thin laptops, according to an email sent out to their distribution partners a few weeks ago.