( dpa ) - Hewlett Packard, the world's largest seller of computers, unveiled a mini-laptop Tuesday that sells for 500 dollars and is aimed at the education market.
The entry-level HP Mini-Note includes a Suse Linux operating system, a 1GB memory and a 3-cell battery, while a higher priced version has Windows Vista Business, 2GB memory and a larger 6-cell battery.
Both are based on a 1.2GHz VIA C7 processor with a 120GB hard drive, 8.9in WXGA (1280 x760) screen, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi built-in and optional Bluetooth.
With a starting weight of 1.27 kg, the system is designed to survive classroom life with a sturdy yet lightweight anodised aluminium shell and HP's 3D DriveGuard to protect the hard disk against damage.
The device is expected to compete with the Intel Classmate and the One Laptop Per Child products which have mainly been marketed to developing countries. However, HP also sees the Mini-Note as suiting business and mobile professionals who value the mobility and usability of the low cost machine.
The Mini-Note represents the beginning of a new segment in the laptop market, according to analyst Rob Enderle, who predicts that other companies will introduce similar laptops later this year.
Computer makers "have now figured out how to make these things relatively inexpensive," he said. "There's a lot of creativity around making thin, light products."