HP Unveils Touchscreen Mini PC

The Mini 5102, one of three netbooks Hewlett-Packard launched in advance of CES, features a multi-touch display, face-recognition software, and up to 10 hours of battery life.
HP Mini 5210
(click image for larger view)
HP Mini 5210

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday unveiled its first mini-laptop with a touchscreen that enables people to use two fingers to navigate through applications and the Web.

The Mini 5102 is one of three netbooks HP introduced the day before the opening of International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The other two netbooks, the Mini 210 and the Mini 2102, do not have touchscreens, but like the 5102, include Intel's latest Atom processor and are available with Windows 7.

All three netbooks have 10.1-inch screens and weigh less than three pounds. The touchscreen Mini 5102 features an optional handle for easier carrying and is designed more toward professionals and students.

The touchscreen enables the use of multi-touch gestures, finger taps, and swipes across the screen to navigate through applications, menus, and Web sites. The netbook also has a touchpad and a keyboard that's 95% of standard size.

The Mini 5102 runs on Intel's Atom N450, which provides longer battery life than the previous generation of the processor. The mini-laptop is available with a four-cell battery, or customers can choose a six-cell battery that roughly doubles the battery life to up to 10 hours.

The Mini 5102 includes HP's face recognition software that uses the laptop's 2-megapixel Webcam to identify users to automatically log them onto Windows and Web sites.

The new mini-notebook is scheduled to be available this month at a starting price of $399.

HP is not alone in showcasing touchscreeen netbooks at CES. Lenovo on Tuesday introduced the IdeaPad S10-3t convertible netbook, which has a 10.1-inch screen that can swivel 180 degrees and fold over to be used as touch tablet. The PC has a starting price of $500 and is available through Lenovo's Web site.

HP's Mini 210 and Mini 2102 are more stylish than the 5102 to be more attractive to consumers. The mini-laptops deliver more than nine hours of battery life and are available with optional 3G mobile broadband connectivity and GPS.

The PCs are less than an inch thick, have keyboards 92% of standard size, and include up to 1 GB of system memory and up to a 320-GB hard drive. As an option, buyers can choose to have Broadcom's Crystal HD video accelerator included for better video playback. Both systems also come with the new Atom N450 CPU.

The Mini 210 and Mini 2102 are set to be available Thursday at a starting price of $299 and $329, respectively.

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