Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday introduced a netbook that the company is hoping will entice more businesses to join the mini-laptop craze.
The Mini 5101 has a 10.1-inch screen, weighs 2.64 pounds, and includes a keyboard that's 95% the size of a mainstream laptop. HP is marketing the system as a "full-function business companion PC," which means it's hoping business travelers will choose to keep the mainstream laptop in the office and take the lighter and inexpensive 5101 on the road.
Netbooks are the fastest-growing segment of the PC market, which has seen steep declines overall in sales during the economic recession. Netbooks, which typically sell for as little as $300, have defied the trend by appealing to cash-strapped consumers. However, businesses have not bought netbooks in large numbers.
With the 5101, HP is focusing on durability not just for business travelers, but for the K-12 education market. The system has an all-metal case of brushed aluminum and a magnesium base that protects the netbook on the road or in the classroom. The system is available with optional Wi-Fi and support for wireless carriers' 3G networks. It also comes with the choice of a light four-cell battery or a heavier six-cell battery for longer battery life. For security, HP includes its Disk Sanitizer software that destroys data on a hard drive, a good feature if the netbook is being disposed or handed to another employee.
Other features include a 1.66-GHz Intel Atom N280 processor, which is used in many netbooks, and up to 2 GB of system memory when used with a Linux operating system. With Windows XP Home, the 5101 caps at 1 GB.
The netbook comes with a 7200-rpm hard drive with storage options of 160, 250, and 320 GB. Buyers can opt for an 80-GB solid-state drive.
The Mini 5101 includes a one-year limited warranty and sells for a starting price of $449.
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