Dell has officially launched its long awaited netbook, the Inspiron Mini 9, which is available now running the Windows XP operating system.

A Linux version of the 1kg machine will be available shortly, the company said.

The Atom-based machine uses solid state disk (SSD) memory, comes with an 8.9-inch LED display (1024x600) and a keypad, which Dell promises to be "large and easy to navigate".

Wi-Fi is built in as standard, but a built-in Webcam and Bluetooth are optional extras. Prices for the Windows XP version start at £299 including VAT and delivery.

A version using Ubuntu 8.04 and a Dell-developed custom interface are expected to be available shortly with a starting price of £269 including VAT and delivery.

Fujitsu Siemens earlier this week launched its own netbook, with the introduction of the Amilo Mini. It joined similar machines from Lenovo, and of course the Asus Eee PC.