HP reveals plans for a second ‘low-cost’ mini-note

One day after Toshiba revealed the company is working on its first mini-note HP has announced plans for its second mini-note. But unlike HP’s 2133 the new model will be closer to the conventional netbook in functionality and nearer to competitors from Asus and Acer in price.

The reason for this split? The 2133 sits at the top end of the nascent market which is north of where many retail opportunities lie. HP differentiated the 2133 from the pack by pre-installing Vista Business and using commercial notebook features such as an anodised aluminium chassis a spill-resistant keyboard and a shock-proof hard drive fitted with a 3D accelerometer.

While these features clearly positioned the 2133 as a mini-note for the business mobility set they also translated into an $899 price tag in a market where the latest mainstream mini-notes cost $599-$699. HP intends to close that gap with a new mini-note due later this year.

“From a retail perspective we’re looking at a similar device (to the 2133) but at a lower cost” said Jerel Chong HP Australia’s Market Development Manager for Notebook PCs at today’s launch of HP’s business mobility products for the second half of 2008. “It won’t be as durable but it will be cheaper”.

Chong also suggested the new model would however share some traits and components with the 2133. “What we like to do across all our products is share the technology” he told APCmag.com.

Chong was unable to comment on speculation that the 2133 which currently uses a VIA C7-M processor would soon transition to Intel’s Atom. The 2133 was designed and made its debut before the Atom was available Chong explained so at the time VIA’s C7-M was the only option.

However the 2133 has been criticised for being underpowered – especially when coping with the overhead of Windows Vista and associated business applications such as Microsoft Office. Given the comments on “sharing technology” and the fact that this time around HP actually has a choice we’re tipping that Intel’s Atom could land in both the new mini-note and a second-gen edition of the 2133.