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HP expands netbook range with Mini 5101

Device features OLED screen and larger keyboard

HP has unveiled the Mini 5101, the latest device to be launched in its netbook range.

The 10.1in netbook features an OLED screen and Intel's Atom N280, which runs at 1.66 GHz, instead of the 1.6 GHz N270, which can be found in the Mini 2140, released less than six months ago.

The 5101 will retain the Mini 2140's anodised aluminium case, but add a magnesium metal bottom, said Carol Hess-Nickels, director of marketing for business netbooks at HP.

The flat, open key layout will have a MacBook-like look-and-feel, and will be slightly larger, at 95 percent of full-laptop-keyboard-size, than the 2140's 92 percent size. It will also benefit from a 2Mp webcam.

Generally considered the third-leading netbook vendor behind Acer and Asus, HP is among a few vendors to explicitly target business buyers with its netbooks.

The Mini 5101 will be HP's fourth business netbook in less than a year and a half. It released the Mini 2133 in early 2008, and followed that up with the much-improved Mini 2140.

The Mini 5101 will retain many of the same features as the 2140 when it arrives in late July: a choice of Windows Vista, XP Home or Professional, Suse Linux Enterprise 11 or FreeDOS operating systems (for users to install whatever flavor of Linux they choose); hard-disk or solid-state disk drives with 3D DriveGuard, HP's technology to protect data in case of drops; a 101 inch screen coming in either 1024x600 or 1366x768 resolutions and a choice of fast-charging four- or six-cell lithium-ion batteries, the latter offering up to eight hours of battery life, according to HP.

It won't come with the Broadcom 'Crystal' HD video decoder that enables 720p or 1080p HD video that is available in the just-released Mini 1101. However, if HP sees customer interest in HD video, it could use Nvidia's Ion technology.

"We have looked at Ion, and we continue to look at it every time we come out with a new product," Hess-Nickels said. "Right now, it didn't seem to be the right offering for our customers."

Asked about the popularity of Linux, Hess-Nickels said the overall percentage of customers choosing Linux on HP netbooks, including business and consumer models, was "probably less than 10 percent," though probably "higher, in the mid-teens" for business Mini models such as the 2133 or 2140.

The HP Mini will cost $499 (£300) in the US and will be available from July. No UK pricing or availability details have been made released.


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