We've known since April that Dell plans to go up against the Eee PC with a small, low-cost laptop of its own. No details about the machine have appeared since, but today we see Gizmodo got a first look at it courtesy of Michael Dell himself.
Judging by Gizmodo's photos, the Inspiron Mini has about the same form factor as other current and upcoming low-cost notebooks, with what looks like an 8.9" or 10" display. The system arguably looks more elegant than others, too, with a glossy red display bezel, sleek black keyboard, and silver palm rest. Connectivity includes your usual three USB ports, one Ethernet port, VGA output, microphone and stereo headphone ports, and a flash card reader.
A more unusual aspect of Inspiron Mini is its keyboard, which seems to have oversized letter and number keys but narrow (and sometimes reshuffled) punctuation and function keys. Dell presumably wants to make typing less cramped than on other tiny laptops, but some of the compromises it made could hamper typists in other ways. For instance, we can't see a quote key between L and enter, and writing a backslash apparently involves using the function modifier key.
Michael Dell didn't give Gizmodo any specifications or launch details. However, the rumor mill suggests the Inspiron Mini could launch in June and may very well feature an Intel Atom processor.