news 12 inch inspiron mini netbook debuts in japan

12-inch Inspiron Mini netbook debuts in Japan

Remember those documents about a 12″ netbook that briefly appeared on Dell’s website a couple of weeks back? Well, Dell finally made the system official on Sunday. There’s a twist, though: the Inspiron Mini 12 is making its debut at retail stores in Japan, and it won’t become available globally until “late November.”

According to Dell’s launch press release, the Inspiron Mini 12 has a 12.1″ 1280×800 display, 1GB of RAM, 802.11g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Windows Vista Home Basic, and a choice of 60GB or 80GB hard drives. Dells says the machine is just 0.92-1.09″ thick and weighs in at a paltry 2.72 lbs, although a quick peek at the spec sheet on Dell’s Japanese website reveals a battery life rating of just 3.5 hours.

Surprisingly, the Japanese product page also mentions 1.33-1.6GHz Atom Z500-series processors. Intel normally aims these Silverthorne chips at ultra-mobile PCs, while regular netbooks get the more power-hungry Diamondville Atoms—typically the 1.6GHz N270. (That chip has a 2.5W power envelope, compared to 2W for the 1.6GHz Atom Z530.)

Right now, Dell Japan lists the Inspiron Mini 12 for 89,800 yen, which works out to a pretty pricy $954. Fear not, though. Dell’s press release says the system will be available for less than $600 when it launches in the United States.