In August we announced that computer manufacturer Dell and tween-oriented virtual world Whyville were partnering to launch a netbook for kids. Well it's on sale now for $329 from the Dell website. It's basically a Nickolodeon branded Dell Mini 10, complete with "slimy" design, Nick.com desktop gadget, Nick wallpapers, a free Nick Game of the Week, and the Nickelodeon broadband media player.
You have to scroll down a bit to find the reference Whyville on the Dell site, but it does look like it's integrated into the machine in some way. If anyone has some screenshots of how it's implemented, we'd love to see it. Is it just an icon on the desktop? Or is the child pre-registered in some way?
Perhaps when the child logs into the virtual world for the first time, she will be taken directly to the Dell Plaza in Whyville, where you can find out about the Dell mini, recycling, and other, um, Dell stuff. Oh and your avatar can get a teeny tiny Dell Mini to carry around with him.
Coming soon to a Walmart near you...
UPDATE 10/2/09 6pm: James Bower, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Whyville, has replied to us about the partnership. He writes, "There is no preregistration, but children clicking on the animaticon will land in the Dell Plaza - which is now live in Whyville and available for everyone. in addition to the features you mention, the Dell plaza also includes a 'build a dell computer' game, based on computer parts scattered around whyville, there is also a computer recycling game. The footprint for Whyville in Dell.com and soon Walmart.com will grow, with, for example, a video now being produced to introduce the educational and learning value of Whyville to parents and grandparents."