Palo Alto (CA) – HP announced today that it is entering the market of laptops for schoolkids with a new miniaturized notebook PC to be priced at under $500.
HP, which is the top seller of PCs worldwide, said it is trying to increase its effort to get greater presence in the American school market. Its main competitor is Intel, which makes the low-cost “Classmate PC.”
HP’s “Mini-Note” computer reportedly weighs less than three pounds and has a display of just under nine inches. Accoring to the AP, basic models will come with a Linux operating system and be priced at under $500, with additional features available including an upgrade to Windows Vista. However, they do not come with a CD or DVD drive unless specifically requested. HP said this was due to common requests from schools to prevent students from playing games during class.
One of the bigger surprises in HP’s announcement is that it chose to use processors from Via instead of the more familiar AMD or Intel. Via is a distant third in the microprocessor market.
A philanthropic organization called One Laptop Per Child kick-started the new wave of laptops designed for school-aged children. Its XO laptop, which costs less than $200, gained international headlines.
The Classmate PC and Mini-Note computers are different in their approach, though. Intel and HP are selling the machines directly to American consumers, while the XO laptop is targeted exclusively at third-world countries.
Intel said it has sold “tens of thousands” of its Classmate PCs since they went on sale a little over a year ago. The OLPC group has sold hundreds of thousands of its lower-priced XO laptop. HP hopes it can make a stronger mark in this emerging market.