HP Netbooks will be a drive-less internet and work platformThe term “laptop” is quickly becoming obsolete. Hewlett-Packard Co., currently the No. 1 brand in the worldwide PC arena, is putting considerable resources into a new class of personal computer: the minature laptop. It’s a market in which Intel and Asus (Asustek Computers, Inc.) have already set up shop to serve the demand for low-cost, trimmed-down machines. HP’s entry into this market illustrates a shift of direction in mobile computing—specialized and smaller. Take out the size, weight and expense of traditional laptops. These “laptop lights” are designed for younger users who primarly use them to surf the web, send and receive e-mail and other basic functions, like word processing. It’s a “netbook.”

Pint-Sized Computers Designed for a New Generation

HP Netbook in ActionAre you ready for Netbooks? The keyboards are smaller, the screens are generally smaller (most models feature displays in the 10-inch range) and there are no optical drives, in fact, no drives at all—flash memory handles the storage duties. What is brilliant about the netbook is its focus on the task—surfing the web—-which we can all agree doesn’t work on our cell phones.

Intel expects that more than 50 million of these machines will be in circulation within the next three years. HP now wants their share of this potential goldmine—a market that began in education and has quickly slipped into the mainstream. HP execs plan to release their “netbook’ in May 2008, many will be Linux-based and sell in the $400 to $500 range, with prices going up for Microsoft Vista models. It will be interesting to see what happens to the “low-end” laptop market as the netbook makes it ascent. They offer just what you need, and nothing that you don’t.

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The Wall Street Journal