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HP unveils consumer netbooks running XP, Linux

updated 12:05 am EDT, Wed October 29, 2008

HP intros three netbooks

Days after a posting a picture of the device on its website, HP is rolling out not one but three consumer netbooks in the Mini 1000 series. Users can choose between 8.9- or 10.2-inch 1024x600 LED-backlit displays, 8GB or 16GB SSDs or a conventional 60GB hard drive. All models ship with built-in Wi-Fi, and 3G versions are expected in December. The 1000 marks a sharp break from the Mini-Note 2133's VIA C7M processor and instead uses a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor with between 512MB and 2GB of RAM; the combination lets HP keep the price down while still providing headroom for better performance.

The Mini 1000 line is a cheaper and less powerful alternative to the company's Mini-Note 2133, which the company says it will continue to sell. Calling it a "companion PC" HP says the Mini 1000 is not intended to replace a full-featured notebook or PC in the way the 2133 might. Graphics support is basic, using Intel's GMA950 integrated chip; however, an optional video decoder mini-card decodes HD video. The device weighs 2.25 pounds and is about one-inch thick, with a keyboard about eight percent smaller than that of a standard PC. The Mini 1000 includes an Ethernet jack, 2 USB ports and a built-in webcam.

The previously-announced Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition is aimed at the more fashion-conscious with a red, imprinted shell and gold-like trim. The Tam Edition ships with 1GB of RAM, an embroidered sleeve, and better-than-average support: accidental damage protection and six months of unlimited HP Smartfriend support are standard.

HP executives say the choice of Windows XP over Vista was not the result of the widely reported problems with Microsoft's latest OS. They say the leaner Home Basic version of Windows XP was simply a better choice for a portable device designed primarily for web access, according to Sonny Shetty, Marketing Manager of HP's Mini line.

The MIE is HP's lone Linux version of the system with an HP-designed interface for quick access to the web, e-mail, Skype and digital content. The interface will also allow users to run a "wide range" of other Linux applications within the HP dashboard -- as long as they are reviewed and certified for use by HP. Unvetted apps won't work. Shetty argues to Electronista that there are so many variations of Linux that users must be "protected" from code that could crash or damage their devices. The MIE's hardware is virtually the same as the other Mini 1000 models, except users can add up to 2GB of memory.

The Mini 1000 series ships with a three-cell lithium-ion battery. A six-cell version -- providing an estimated six-hours of battery life -- will be available in January. HP has also designed USB flash drives for Mini 1000 models with relatively limited solid-state drives. HP Mini Mobile Drives will be available in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions in a special shape that rests flush against the front panel. All three models come with a six-month subscription to HP Upline, a .Mac-like service that provides online storage, backup, file sharing and synchronization.

The HP Mini 1000 is available online and at retailers starting at $400. The Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition will be available in December $700 for the base model, and the Mini 1000 MIE is set to be released in January starting at $380.

Mini 1000

Vivienne Tam Edition

By Electronista Staff
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