Dell Axes 12" Inspiron Mini 12 Netbook

Talk about a short life. Dell's Inspiron Mini 12 launched in late October of last year, and it seems the company's largest netbook is already being canned before it can even celebrate its first birthday. It's almost tragic, isn't it? With fewer and fewer netbooks launching these days with 11.6" and 12" displays, it really hurts to see yet another big guy take the fall. After all, these 12" machines usually have keyboards that are much larger and far more comfortable to use than those on the 10" machines, but we suspect the sales volume just didn't warrant an extension.

Indeed, the Mini 12 launched at around $600, which is dangerously close to the price put on 13.3" and 14" thin-and-light notebooks from MSI and company. Of course, those that closely follow Dell's moves won't find this as a shock. Recently, the company's Inspiron Mini 9 netbook was also canned with nary a peep from the parent company, and the 12" version is also vanishing without any official word. But trust us, you won't have much luck if you surf over to Dell's website and attempt to order one.

So, in the larger picture, what exactly does this mean? Does it signal that larger netbooks are unwanted? Does it signal that the $299 price ceiling is made of more than glass? We're guessing that the Mini 12 would've done much better below $600, but we can understand why Dell was forced to sell it for more. Who knows--maybe the Mini 12 will resurface with great specs and a new face.