HP made another move into the mini-laptop, or netbook, market Wednesday, unveiling three models priced from $379 to $699.
The new mini-laptops will ship between Wednesday and January, and have the same basic hardware specs: They are each less than 1 inch thick, weigh a little over 2 pounds, and come with a built-in Webcam and microphone. They're powered by an Atom 1.6GHz processor (the netbook processor of choice) and have a 1,024-by-600-pixel glass display with an LED backlight (8.9- or 10.2-inch-diagonal display), an Ethernet jack, two USB ports, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g WAN) and Bluetooth wireless capabilities, and a keyboard that is slightly smaller than standard size. You also have your choice of a solid state hard drive (SSD) or mechanical hard drive (HDD).
[ Also: Find out about Lenovo's recent addition to the crowded field of netbook options ]
The first model available today is called the HP Mini 1000; it comes in black only, runs XP Home Edition, and is priced at $399. The second model, available mid-December, had its shell designed by fashionista Vivienne Tam, and the look debuted in New York last month when Tam unveiled her spring collection. But if you want a designer netbook, you'd better be prepared to pay designer prices; this one will cost you $699 for almost the same specs as the Mini 1000. HP plans to roll out 3G option for both of these models in December. There's no word on whether the memory is the same for both netbooks, but the Mini 1000 currently offers an 8GB or 16GB SSD drive or a 60GB HDD.
The final model is by far the most interesting one that HP has to offer. Priced at $379, the HP Mini 1000 with MIE (Mobile Internet Experience) is about as pure a netbook as you can get with Web-only applications designed by HP. Boasting the same specs as the other two, the Mini with MIE runs the open source Linux OS and comes preloaded with Skype as well as applications for instant messaging, e-mail, music, and Web browsing. Don't get too excited, though -- the mini MIE won't be available in the United States until after the holiday season, sometime in January. HP has no plans to introduce a 3G model for the MIE.
All three models are configure to order, so specs on RAM and memory are up to you.
This is HP's second move into the netbook market after it unveiled its 2133 in April; however, the 2133 was basically a mini-laptop that you could preload with Windows Vista instead of the Web-centric devices the company launched Wednesday.