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HP Unveiling Next-Gen Netbooks At CES

Hewlett-Packard will unveil its third-generation netbook this week at International CES, which features a new technology that allows users to store data in the Internet “cloud.”

The Mini 210 netbook, or mini-note in HP-speak, is the third design from the company since it rolled out its first netbook model in October 2008, said Sonny Shetty, HP’s netbook platforms group manager.

Like the previous models, Shetty said, the company took extra pains with its outward appearance, adding HP’s imprint design to the cover and wrist rest and even giving the unit’s bottom the same color scheme.

The 210 uses Intel’s Atom processor, has a 10.1-inch screen, weighs 2.69 pounds and is about 0.90 inches thick.

It will be available starting today with a $299 suggested retail.

HP is including what it calls the Cloud Drive with the Mini 210. The Cloud Drive appears on the computer as just another attached storage device, but the data is actually sent to an online storage site. The data can be dragged and dropped onto the Cloud Drive just like a normal drive.

HP is supplying 100GB of storage free for three months, after which an as-yet-unset service charge will be applied. Shetty said the company is considering moving the Cloud Drive concept up into its larger format notebooks, but no firm plan is in place.

The other major technical improvements are a larger touchpad and a better keyboard.

The display is capable of delivering HD quality video and the 210 has a dedicated processor for handling any HD content, he said. The product also has HP’s Quickweb technology that allows the unit to boot up in a Linux environment. This takes about 15 seconds, Shetty said, and gives the user quick access to email, music and the Web. The unit’s main OS is Windows 7.

A 3G option is also available.

HP will also upgrade its business netbooks with a more stylized appearance, with red and blue color options added to the basic black now available. Other options include SSD storage, 3G and a touchscreen and they come bundled with Corel Office software. The business models range in price from $299 to $399.

At CES HP will also introduce its first Tablet PC geared toward the consumer channel. The Touchsmart tm2 uses a reversible 12.1-inch touchscreen. HP believes the unit will be attractive to students who will use the touchscreen for note taking.

It will ship on Jan. 7 at $899.

The company will also show a single desktop PC, the Pavilion Elite HPE. It will be available with either a high-performance Intel or AMD Phenom II quad-core processor, Nvidia or ATI graphics and will ship on Jan. 7 with a $729 starting price.