HP Jumps Into Subcompact Notebooks: Mini-Note PC

Hewlett-Packard has jumped into the subcompact notebook market with their announcement of the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC on Tuesday. At the low end of the pricing, with SUSE Linux, the 2.6 lb computer with an 8.9-inch screen starts at US$499. Itis aimed at business travelers and the education market.

The WXGA screen has a 1280 x 768 resolution. OS options include SUSE Linux and Windows Vista which will cost more. Advertised as weighing less than many science books, the computer also features an accelerometer that can shut down the hard disk at a severe shock. A Webcam is optional.

HP 2133 Mini-Note

"Education shouldnit end at the bell," said Jeri Callaway, vice president and general manager, Personal Systems Group ? Americas, HP. "HP believes providing each student with an affordable, creative multimedia tool like the HP Mini will better prepare them to live, learn and work in an information-rich society."

The Mini-Note has 802.11/b/g/n, USB ports, Ethernet port and Bluetooth on the top end model. The keyboard is reported to be just slightly less than full size. The processor is unconventional: a VIA C7-M processor at 1.0 GHz with a 400 MHz FSB. For the $499 price, the user gets a 4 GB Flash drive and Linux. Jumping to a 5,400 rpm 120 GB drive ups the price to $549. A model with a 7,200 rpm 120 GB hard disk, Vista and a faster 1.6 GHz processor is priced at US$749.

The HP Mini-Note competes directly with the ASUS Eee PC and somewhat less with the Apple MacBook Air which is targeted more towards business travel and not so much education. Like the Apple MacBook Air, Hewlett-Packard doesnit expect the computer to have mass market appeal, but with Linux as an option and the afforable price, they seem to be in search of a sweet spot, perhaps a hole in Appleis product line, that will appeal to many students.