HP launches $499 VIA-based laptop

Yet another company has gone after the Asus Eee PC, and this time it happens to be the world's biggest PC vendor. HP has unveiled its new 2133 Mini-Note PC, a tiny ultra-portable notebook that's aimed chiefly at the education market and starts at just $499. That's a little pricier than current Eee PC 700 models, but the 2133 has a larger, 8.9" 1280 x 768 scratch-resistant display and a fancier-looking anodized aluminum shell.

The new HP 2133. Source: HP.

Delving into the HP 2133's innards, you'll find a 1GHz VIA C7-M ULV processor, integrated VIA Chrome9 HC graphics, 512MB of DDR2-667 RAM, a 4GB solid-state drive, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, an ExpressCard/54 slot, an integrated VGA camera, and a three-cell battery. HP also allows customers to pony up as much as $849 for other versions of the 2133 that include C7-M CPUs clocked as high as 1.6GHz, up to 2GB of RAM, 120GB or 160GB hard drives, six-cell batteries, and Bluetooth 2.0 support.

HP's base $499 configuration comes with a copy of Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 distribution, but users opting for the more expensive models can also go with Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Business. The whole package weighs in at just 2.63 lbs (1.19 kg) with the three-cell battery, and it's just over an inch thick (33 mm).

According to HP's official press release, the 2133 Mini-Note PC is scheduled to become available "later this month."

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