HP Launches $499 Mini-Notebook

Weighing in at about 2.5 pounds and featuring an 8.9-inch screen and near-full-size Qwerty keyboard, HP is hoping the pint-sized notebook will appeal to the education and commercial markets.

HP designed the Mini-Note PC with input from its education advisory council to help understand the computing needs of the K-12 education market, according to Carol Hess-Nickels, director, worldwide business notebook marketing for HP.

"We're venturing out into new markets and new form factors and really trying to grow the business from that perspective. Focusing on education was a great way to do this," Hess-Nickels said.

The product will be available through the same channels as other HP business notebooks, she said, including through distributors like Tech Data.

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Resellers hoping to target the education market also have dedicated resources at HP. "We have an education team here in Houston and an education sales force throughout the U.S. that can be tapped in to use in these types of scenarios," she said. "Clearly we envision the sales to be to administrators or the IT director or manager at as cool so there may be some one-off sales to adults, but I think the majority will be more around selling to the school district."

Resellers will play an integral part in the company's go-to-market strategy for the product, helping schools understand the value of computing in the classroom. The notebook could also replace textbooks in some cases. "It's a different way of teaching when you have a tool like this to use," she said.

HP has also seen interest from the business community, Hess-Nickels said, particularly from traveling executives who use desktop PCs in the office.

When designing the product, HP also took into account durability as its target market is school-aged children. "They're not going to be particularly gentle on this box so we spent a lot of time making sure it had a lot of durability and a lot of reliability built into it," she said.

In addition to a spill-resistant keyboard, the notebook has an anodized aluminum shell and a HP 3D DriveGuard, which shuts down the hard drive when it senses sudden movement or shock. The display is scratch-resistant.

The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC ships with Linux or Windows Vista and users have two battery options, three-cell or six-cell, and wireless networking capacity including Wi-Fi Certified WLAN and Bluetooth. It is expected to be on shelves by the end of the month.

See a ChannelWeb.com Test Center review of HP 2133 Mini-Note PC here.