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Why has Dell killed off the Inspiron Mini 12?

It's true: Dell is killing off its large netbooks. Specifically, the axe has been slammed down on the metaphorical neck of the Inspiron Mini 12, Dell's 12-incher. We take a look at why

Crikey, we only reviewed this back in January! But it's true: Dell is killing off its large netbooks. Specifically, the axe has been slammed down on the metaphorical neck of the Inspiron Mini 12, its 12-inch netbook.

The news came from the manufacturer's Direct2Dell blog yesterday. "It really boils down to this: for a lot of customers, 10-inch displays are the sweet spot for netbooks," chief blogger Lionel Menchaca wrote. "Portability is one of the key points for netbook customers. Larger notebooks require a little more horsepower to be really useful."

At first, this appears to be an unusual argument, since a 12-inch netbook requires no more horsepower than a 10-inch netbook, unless their screen resolutions are much higher, which they aren't: the Mini 10's maxes out at 1,366x768 pixels, the Mini 12 at 1,280x800 pixels.

Mike Arrington on TechCrunch thinks it's an Intel-influenced decision. Perhaps. But the bulk of the story is probably more simple: customers see a 12-inch computer as a standard laptop, and find Atom-powered performance underwhelming. With a smaller, cheaper, 10-inch netbook, slower speeds come as no surprise.

Let us know in the comments what you think. And don't miss our full review of Dell's flagship netbook -- the Inspiron Mini 10 -- here.