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HP Portables Hardware

HP Unveils Small Commercial Linux Laptop 242

Posted by Zonk
from the micro-penguins-on-the-go dept.
Ryan writes "HP had unveiled their version of a miniaturized laptop for school kids. The tiny device boasts speeds up to 1.6 gigahertz. They haven't yet decided on a name, but 'netbooks' is one possibility. They will be used for surfing the Internet and doing other basic tasks like word processing. The company plans to have 50 million units available in the marketplace by 2011. Optical drives have been left out to prevent kids from playing 'unauthorized games.' Weighing less than 3 pounds with a tiny 8.9 inch screen, the machines start below $500 for a Linux-based model. Prices are expected to be higher for Windows Vista models."
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HP Unveils Small Commercial Linux Laptop

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  • 500 bucks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:33PM (#23001702) Homepage Journal
    Try again.
    • by snl2587 (1177409) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:46PM (#23001896)

      With inflation that will be about $4 in 2008 dollars by 2011.

      • And whose fault is that?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rabryan21 (1024373)

        With inflation that will be about $4 in 2008 dollars by 2011.

        Predicting an inflation rate of 20% a year for the next 3 years is now considered "Insightful"?
    • "Try Again" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:55PM (#23002040)
      Optical drives have been left out to prevent kids from playing 'unauthorized games.'

      Of course, being kids, they will require ~30 seconds (maybe less) to figure out a way around this. USB optical drive / keychain drive? Check. Daemon Tools and ISO image? Check. No-CD Patch of whatever game they want to run? Check. Web games, bittorrent, whatever else their little hearts might desire? Check.

      I have a vision of 1,000s of kids sitting in school, on school-approved laptop, all endowed with MAME and console emulators... "and god looked down, and saw that it was good."

      Heh.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        The day that a "kid" is able to run WOW or Counterstrike in WINE without an optical drive is the day that I'll fart dust and piss rust. Get off my lawn!
        • Re:"Try Again" (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:17PM (#23002354) Journal

          The day that a "kid" is able to run WOW or Counterstrike in WINE without an optical drive is the day that I'll fart dust and piss rust.

          Now that I've got you on record...

          WoW works, out of the box, on Wine, with maybe one small tweak -- and kids tend to tweak out their WoW anyway, as it's somewhat scriptable, in a few small, deliberate ways.

          It is possible, though unlikely, that a kid wouldn't be able to figure out how to install it from an ISO. Were that the case, all it takes is copying the .wine directory to wherever you need it to be, because once installed, it doesn't check for the CD -- being an MMO is much better copy protection than any CD scheme they could do.

          And remember, it only takes one kid to do that, throw it on his iPod, and teach the other kids the three or so steps that it'll take to copy it to the laptop's hard drive.

          If they really don't want people to play games, they should just give it a crappy video card... Oh wait, they plan to have a Vista model. Never mind.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Whoa there, feller. It's called "sarcasm". Please don't perpetuate the notion that all slashdotters were picked on in grades K-12 and are now using their mod points to seek revenge against outspoken bullies. Here, I brought a tag for you: [/sarcasm]. Truce? :)
        • Where to send the scrap wood and nails you'll eat?
        • by jedidiah (1196)
          At the rate Ubuntu is going, I wouldn't be surprised if there's some shiny happy
          GUI tools that will already easily enable this. All they have to do is set this
          up once on a "real" box and then clone it to the USB fob.

          The Unix way of dealing with filesystems makes this idea pretty straightforward.
      • by jandrese (485)
        I think a bigger deterrent against game playing will be the 1.6Ghz VIA processor and the sure to be crappy integrated graphics, not to mention the fact that it's running Linux (how many Linux games come on CD anyway?).

        $500 seems like a bit much for this laptop. Is it ruggedized or something (would make sense for a machine designed for kids)?
        • by Moryath (553296)
          1.6 GHZ VIA processor and "crappy" (by today's standards) graphics, if even remotely able to run Vista home edition (which is likely the "Vista" referred to) is still enough to do MAME and just about any other emulation you come up with. Think about it, really.

          WoW will run - admittedly in the lowest graphics mode - on a P3/Athlon 800 MHz, 512 MB RAM, and a video board with at least GeForce2-level (read: capabilities from 8 years ago) graphics ability. This laptop will do at LEAST that much - and those are s
        • by megaditto (982598)
          Fast enough to play doom, quake, UT, and gnuchess (in that order).

          Hell, my Palm PDA is fast enough to run quake...
          • by jandrese (485)
            If you want to go far enough, dang near any computer made today (even the one that runs the keypad on your microwave) is powerful enough to play Pong or a variety of 2600 games. It depends how many kids want to run games from 1998. Heck, the vast majority of Linux games will run on any computer you could buy today.

            The real question is: will it run WoW?
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by HTH NE1 (675604)

              The real question is: will it run WoW?
              I thought the real question was, "Will it blend?"
      • Re:"Try Again" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by qbzzt (11136) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:23PM (#23002468)
        Optical drives have been left out to prevent kids from playing 'unauthorized games.'

        How about "Optical drives have been left out to drive down the cost, but some marketing weenie thought it would sound better if the press release said it was for the children"?

        Engineering is about reality. Marketing is about perceptions.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by fragbait (209346)

          Engineering is about reality. Marketing is about perceptions.
          ...there you go assuming your engineers have an accurate perception of reality.

          -fragbait
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I think we all know that the "no optical drives = no games" is nothing more than happy words intended for school administrators. What it really means is "no optical drive = less weight, less cost, less battery usage"

        that said, I suspect these will not do well because of the price point. The Asus eeePC is priced at just about the right point - it certainly has all the administrators that have seen it in my district drooling over the notion of a classroom set for under $10K
      • by el americano (799629) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:25PM (#23003338) Homepage
        Relax, they didn't really leave the CD drive out to restrict the kids. They just found out it was a really good spin for the design decision to leave it out. Teachers love the idea that children won't be allowed to do something. They're thinking, "Now, they will respect my authority."

    • http://www.danaquarium.com/gallery/vhacks/powerbook_pda [danaquarium.com]

      OK, it's a photoshop job, but that pic probably received more positive comments than any other photoshopped hardware I'd done. There's interest out there.
  • 1.6GHz? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Grey (463613) * on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:33PM (#23001710)
    From TFA:

    ... Prices go up for Windows Vista models with faster processors.

    The processors HP is using are made by Via Technologies Inc., the distant third-ranked player in the microprocessor space, and come in clock speeds up to 1.6 gigahertz. ...

    I interpret that as saying that the non-Vista machines will be running a slower processor while the Vista versions get the 1.6GHz model. My son's Toshiba laptop, purchased this last Christmas, runs Vista at about that speed. It sucks. (That's a unanimous opinion among all members of our household, geeks and non-geeks alike. Even the cats hate it.)

    Won't someone really think of the children for once?

    • You interpret wrong. They are introducing the Linux version at 1.6, and are awaiting a faster chip from VIA to go with Windows. Hopefully, HP will do like XO and build up a bit more on the desktop for the linux systems. Just a standard install is a mistake.
    • Re:1.6GHz? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:02PM (#23002156)
      The reviews seem to suggest that although the 1.6GHz CPU can run Vista Business perfectly soundly, it keeps the temps high and the fan running and only gets a scant 2 hours out of the basic battery. So it probably shouldn't be on Vista.
    • by anss123 (985305)

      My son's Toshiba laptop, purchased this last Christmas, runs Vista at about that speed.
      I got a 1.6 GHz Toshiba laptop with Vista too. It is quite a bit faster than the Via based computers mentioned in this article. Even the down clocked 600MHz CPU in the eee PC should give the old Via a hard time. Unless it's one of those brand spanking new Via CPUs, in which case I know nothing.
    • by nofx_3 (40519)
      It's not just the freq, it's also a Via C7 cpu, which means that if you compare it to a pIII or Pentium M, it's about equivalent to ~800mhz or so.
    • Re:1.6GHz? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:06PM (#23002214)

      My son's Toshiba laptop, purchased this last Christmas, runs Vista at about that speed. It sucks. (That's a unanimous opinion among all members of our household, geeks and non-geeks alike. Even the cats hate it.

      Well they would, wouldn't they? Everybody knows cats need fast processors to run extra grammar and spelling checks. For a cat, being caught spelling something incorrectly is the height of humiliation.

    • Re:1.6GHz? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwinNO@SPAMamiran.us> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:11PM (#23002274) Homepage Journal
      They did.

      That's why they ship Linux

      ASUS's EeePc has the bigger manufactures salivating. Their nothing thinking standard desktop/laptop replacement, they're trying to look at alternative markets.

      Disposable computers, super-light-weight computers, computers for Grandma/Grandpa, and network-only computers.

      These are all areas in which Vista cannot compete at a given price range, and are separate market segments from traditional computing. The only problem (for Microsoft) is that if Linux catches on in all these spaces, Linux will finally have a strong niche from which to leap into the mainstream market.

      If there are 50-150 million lightweight, 1+ ghz Linux laptops out there with a GMA X3100 or equivalent graphics chip; then there's a beautiful market for software. Games included.
    • Re:1.6GHz? (Score:5, Funny)

      by DarkSarin (651985) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:11PM (#23003154) Homepage Journal
      Are you _certain_ the cats hate it? I mean they are cats. They may just artfully disdain it, as per their usual stance. Cats don't usually hate much of anything. Frankly I think if the cats had decided that they hated Vista, we'd see that microsoft would already be in flames by now. No my friend, I fear the day cats actually wake from their millenia of apathy and begin to actually hate. When that happens we shall all die a painful death. Their studied indifference to our human and insignificant lives is vastly preferred to any notice that they might take of us.
    • Re:1.6GHz? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AndGodSed (968378) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:56PM (#23003768) Homepage Journal
      Ironic that the more expensive model will run slower than the cheaper model, will feature more restrictive licensing and the user will not be able to tweak it as much as the cheaper version...
    • by rbanffy (584143)
      "My son's Toshiba laptop, purchased this last Christmas, runs Vista at about that speed. It sucks. (That's a unanimous opinion among all members of our household, geeks and non-geeks alike. Even the cats hate it.)"

      I had Vista on my last notebook, a quite capable dual-core thingie and it sucked.

      The conclusion is that Vista sucks at any speed.
  • Something lined up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bombula (670389) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:36PM (#23001750)
    The company plans to have 50 million units available in the marketplace by 2011

    They must have some massive orders lined up. Unless that number is wrong, no WAY do you talk about figures that large without clear knowledge of huge orders already in the pipeline. That'd basically be one for every schoolchild in the US by 2011.

    Could they be in talks with, for example, the folks in charge of the education changes that will be coming with the changing of the guard from republican to democrat White House administrations? Or with foreign governments (in both developed and developing countries)?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mi (197448)

      Could they be in talks with, for example, the folks in charge of the education changes that will be coming with the changing of the guard from republican to democrat White House administrations?

      They may well be... Teachers' Union endorsements don't come cheap.

    • by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:54PM (#23002024) Journal

      I just discovered a secret. Most schoolkids [wikipedia.org] don't even live in the US. Shocker!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bombula (670389)
        True. Most live in countries where the $500 pricetag of this product represents more than the GDP per capita. Do note that the 'G' in GDP stands for 'gross', as in 'not net', as in 'the chance of us having $500 to spend on this is roughly equal to chance of us becoming astronauts'.
        • Is it too conservative to point out that you don't introduce new technology to a culture by selling it to the poorest of them, or even the "average"?

          Is it too liberal to suggest that in some cases governments might invest in technology for students to improve their nation's future position in the world?

          Is it anti-american to point out that $500 today isn't any more than $250 was three years ago to the rest of the world because their currency is up and ours is down? Those GDP numbers need some serious adj

    • by mpapet (761907)
      HP has a gov't services business that they sell their hardware + service through.

      In order to win those contracts you have to know the people issuing the purchase contracts very well to even get a foot in the door. I believe they've got the Gov't contacts and certainly enough OEM manufacturers willing to take the business to move the units.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gfxguy (98788)
      My problem is that by 2011, 1.6Ghz is going to be equivalent to sub-Ghz now, it's going to suck, you can already buy fully functional laptops with 1.6Ghz or better processors for less than $500... the list goes on and on.

      Overpriced piece of crap. I know, I know, it's somebody thinking of the children... god forbid they should get a fully functional laptop for less money when they can have this piece of junk.
      • by Bombula (670389)
        It may perform like a brick, but if it's as tough as one maybe that'll make up for it. With most kids under 10 that I know, a laptop would last no more than five minutes.
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:36PM (#23001752) Homepage Journal
    a core2duo laptop with a 120gb HDD and a DVD rewritable drive... not to mention a 15.6inch screen -_-
    • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:49PM (#23001950) Homepage
      Yeah, but children have different needs. They will etch their names in the case, drop it, routinely hold it by the lid, drop it, spill stuff on it, drop it, get that cookie-saliva goo mixture from their fingers on it, etc. For a child, a tough slow box is worth more than a fragile powerful machine.
      • by lancejjj (924211)

        [Children] will etch their names in the case, drop it, routinely hold it by the lid, drop it, spill stuff on it, drop it, get that cookie-saliva goo mixture from their fingers on it, etc.
        I bought an inexpensive sub-$500 laptop a few months ago, and it came with ALL of those features.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jhanderson (1200461)

        Yeah, but children have different needs. They will etch their names in the case, drop it, routinely hold it by the lid, drop it, spill stuff on it, drop it, get that cookie-saliva goo mixture from their fingers on it, etc. For a child, a tough slow box is worth more than a fragile powerful machine.
        I know this is /. and all, but perhaps what the children need are books and good teachers instead of laptops.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by paulpach (798828)
      ...that weights 3 pounds?

      Heck you can get those specs for about $300 on a desktop.

      The fact is that you are paying that much because of the weight, because of how portable it is. The closest thing to your specs that weights 4 pounds is the mac book air and that starts at $1700.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fyleow (1098657)
      Right but it will also weigh at least twice as much as the 3 lb HP and even with a 15.6 inch screen the resolution will be similar to that of the 8.9 inch HP. The point of these cheap ultra portables like the EEE is to have a tiny footprint and light weight without having to pay $1000+ which was what you expect to pay for anything 12 inch or less before the EEE came.

      If you aren't buying these laptops for the size and weight to price ratio then there's no point really.

      It's a shame that they chose to go with
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OrangeTide (124937)
      You pay a premium for a smaller form factor. Big laptops have always been cheap. And small laptops used to be very expensive until recently.
      • by gfxguy (98788)
        Then why are laptops with 17 inch screens more money than 15.4 inch screens?

        I've never understood, up to a certain point for smaller computers, why smaller was more expensive. When you get REALLY small, I can see it, but I see no point in buying a 12 inch laptop when a 14 inch laptop is less expensive. It can't really make that huge of a difference to anybody to carry around 14 instead of 12.

        But then I'm just a cheap bastard.
    • With good linux driver support? Pointers, please, I need one. :)
    • by cens0r (655208)
      The thing to remember about laptops is that there are three things you can buy: performance, size, and price. You can only choose two of them at any one time. This computer and the Asus are small and cheap but do not perform well. You can have a cheap and fast laptop, but it will be big. You can have a small and fast laptop, but it will be expensive. When purchasing one, you have to decide what you want. For my case (already having at least four machines in the house) I don't need a laptop do be power
      • Asus are small and cheap but do not perform well.

        Producing this video [youtube.com] must have cost a fortune in CGI then. This one too. [youtube.com] Those Linux eee geeks must have an unlimited budget to mock up fakes like this one. [youtube.com]

        It's amazing how they can make that stuff look like it's happening on a puny little eee when, as you observe, that's clearly not possible.

        • by cens0r (655208)
          Perform well was relative. All of them perform well enough for most things. But you aren't going to play many 3d games on the eee. I'm not dissing it, in fact I'm going to buy one soon.
        • by abigor (540274)
          You are easily impressed if you think that what is basic window manager functionality these days is somehow awesome. I'd be more surprised if it couldn't do these things. Far more impressive is its ability to open an OpenOffice doc in under 10 seconds.
          • by symbolset (646467)

            Is that it can install the OS, standard apps, open office, and a whole bunch of this free stuff [ubuntu.com] in 1/10th of the minimum required for Vista, and it still looks this good.

            Wait. No. It doesn't surprise me at all. Never mind.

  • Authorized by whom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:37PM (#23001756)

    Optical drives have been left out to prevent kids from playing 'unauthorized games.
    Authorized by whom? I sincerely hope they mean the children's parents.

    This kind of language reminds me of this great xkcd.com piece [xkcd.com].
    • by bluemonq (812827)
      The laptop originally came out of the education department at HP. I can kinda see the point of that. Of course, the smarter kids will probably think of some way to get ISO files and a virtual drive running on the thing.
  • by davecrusoe (861547) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:37PM (#23001758) Homepage
    ... of making inexpensive, simple and rugged laptops for world education? I do believe it's been co-opted by the idea of "small", but not necessarily "inexpensive", "rugged" or "adaptable" to hard environments. For instance, $500 is way above the original marks set by OLPC, I believe, and even the marks above the other OLPC clone manufacturers. Can anyone weigh in on this? $500+ is bizarre, given how inexpensive fully-featured laptops are these days... --Dave
    • p.s. By 2011? Imagine the kind of technologies that will be out in the marketplace in 3-4 years, and this device seems even less relevant. However, at least our educational system won't have changed much... (sigh)
      --Dave
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)
        My kid has her own PC. Doesn't stop her from using her Speak and Spell, her LeapPad or her Etch-a-Sketch.

        Just because new toys come along with technology that makes geeks go "Gee-whiz that's cool' doesn't mean the old tools suddenly become garbage.

        Hell, half the time the new tools are the garbage, just takes you a little while after purchase to find out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:39PM (#23001784)
    Right, cause we all know how many games there are floating around out there for Linux... on optical media no less...

    "See? See? It's a feature, not a deficiency!"
  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:39PM (#23001790) Homepage Journal
    The tiny device boasts speeds up to 1.6 gigahertz. They haven't yet decided on a name, but 'netbooks' is one possibility... Optical drives have been left out... Weighing less than 3 pounds...

    How about 'NetBook Air'? Catchy, I think.
  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:40PM (#23001822)
    From the summary:

    They haven't yet decided on a name, but 'netbooks' is one possibility.
    That implies that HP hasn't named their new device yet. Actually TFA describes it thus:

    The machines are so new the industry hasn't settled on a name for low-cost and scaled-down laptops used primarily for surfing the Internet and performing other basic functions like word processing. Intel has labeled them "netbooks," and it expects more than 50 million netbooks to be in circulation by 2011.
    And later,

    HP's foray comes in the form of a new computer called a "Mini-Note"
    So HP's new computer is a "Mini-Note"... and the "netbook" term is a possible buzz-word to describe generically a very small laptops (I guess UMPC [wikipedia.org] isn't sexy enough?).
    • by bluemonq (812827)
      It kind does have the name though: the 2133. Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue though.
  • hmmm. (Score:2, Informative)

    by WindBourne (631190)
    They are late to the market and expensive with basically a clone of others. Sadly, It says a lot about the HP of today.
    • Troll? (Score:5, Informative)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:15PM (#23002326) Journal
      I have worked for HP and have always been proud of the past HP. It was a VERY inventive company. It always had a bit if NIH issue, but it also lead to interesting and new ideas.

      Copying other sub notebooks, almost to the T, but charging nearly double is NOT innovative. They are claiming to want to sell a 500 notebook into classrooms, which is way too expensive. The classmates are about 350 and the XO are 150-180. Heck, even the Asus are 299. It is slightly greater power then these, but still can not compete against other $500 notebooks (which have diskdrives, DVDs, Ram, 14-16" monitors, 2.2G and bigger CPU, etc.

      IOW, this item is either hopelessly overpriced or underpowered. That is NOT innovative and for me to call it for what it is, does not make me troll.
  • by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:48PM (#23001922) Homepage Journal
    But they say many schools requested the drives be left out to prevent students from playing unauthorized games.'

    That's a good thing since games can't be distributed on USB drives, SD cards or downloaded from the internet.
  • Games? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:48PM (#23001924) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: HP executives say the only major feature its Mini-Note lacks is an optical drive for ingesting DVDs and CD-ROMs, which can be bought separately. But they say many schools requested the drives be left out to prevent students from playing unauthorized games.

    Um, what? Every time I go to the library, all the computers are occupied by kids playing a million different Flash games online. None of them are playing games that involve CDs. And plenty of small games can be run locally by saving the .SWF file, which one kid will figure out how to do in 5 minutes and the rest will know 2 seconds later.
    • Yeah, schools don't understand technology.

      Besides, if they're running linux, all of their games are going to be installed via aptitude (or equivalent) anyway. I don't have a CD drive in my laptop, and I play plenty of games... the only tricky part was getting the initial OS installed, for which I had to borrow a friend's CD drive from his Dell (I'm so glad that drive bays are standardized between Dells...) Presumably, the kids aren't going to have to *install* the OS, so they'll probably never even need a

  • Better info (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728)
    It's called the Mini-Note. It's aimed at the education market in general as well as "mobile professionals", not just schools. It can be configured with SuSE, Vista Home Basic, or Vista Business, and storage goes from 4GB SSDs to 160GB 7200RPM hard drives (accelerometer-based drive protection features are included for the HDD versions). The Netbook is something else entirely, and is made by Intel. There are dozens of reviews of the machine out already with better info than that Yahoo article. The HP press re [hp.com]
  • Considering they have ran the HP-UX (HP Unix) OS on a variety of architectures, I'm rather surprised they didn't bring it to the x86 and use this laptop to launch it.

    Granted, I couldn't imagine that porting an operating system is a trivial task, but I would think it could be a bit of a minor triumph to pull it off on a small POSIX laptop...
  • VIA CPU... no thanks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:03PM (#23002162) Journal
    Unless it has a math co-processor slot. Heh heh.

    Anyway, for the cost of any of these small notebooks, you can buy a used IBM Thinkpad X31 or X32 and have an Intel Pentium M (Banias/Dothan) CPU, top-quality components, and Thinkpad fit and finish.

  • Wow... this actually sounded like a good thing until

    Optical drives have been left out to prevent kids from playing 'unauthorized games.'
    This is quite possibly the stupidest way to add "parental controls" to a children's laptop. What right do they have to determine what games are unauthorized? (And why are all CD games unauthorized? It seems that that typing teacher with the dancing cartoons is dangerous now!)

    I sense an attempt to sell more USB drives.
    • by tepples (727027)

      What right do they have to determine what games are unauthorized? (And why are all CD games unauthorized? It seems that that typing teacher with the dancing cartoons is dangerous now!)
      If the instructor wants to set up typing tutor software, he or she can sign it and install it over the network.

      I sense an attempt to sell more USB drives.
      Not if the shell still won't run apps that haven't been signed by a staff member.
  • writer's laptop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:18PM (#23002380)
    The Mini-Note was called the HP 2133 in the advanced press and has been expected for a while. I've had high hopes for it as a notebook for word processing, because the advance press has always talked about it having a 95% full keyboard (unlike the tiny Eee).

    Anyway, after looking at some of the early reviews [google.com] you can see that the Linux model is almost the perfect machine for a writer. It's small and under 3 pounds. It has a nearly full-size keyboard so you should be able to type for hours on it with no problems. The 1280x768 screen lets you see how things look on a full page and do some editing work (which is why something like an Alphasmart doesn't fit here). It seems likely to be fairly rugged and has a solid state drive of some sort, meaning drops won't kill your work. The performance of the poky VIA processor is almost irrelevant; all you need to be able to do is type in Open Office without noticeable lag. (Or fire up a tty session with vi or emacs if you want to totally minimize distractions.) $500 isn't as nice as $400, but it won't kill you either.

    The only problem I've seen is that at least one of the reviews goes on about the heat the thing generates and the accompanying fan noise. A small quiet computer is the scribbler's holy grail. There's some hope for the HP, as the reviews have all been of the $750 model running Vista off a spinning hard drive. Maybe, hopefully, the slower processor being taxed less by a lighter OS combined with a solid state drive will make the Linux model quieter. Still, if not, we've almost got a writer's computer. And hopefully someone else will come out with a perfect one soon.

  • by kris.montpetit (1265946) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:19PM (#23002396)

    I think PR should have gone with the real, better excuse for not including an optical drive:

    This notebook is really small, and optical drives are going the way of the floppy disk.
  • On the photo we can very clearly see Classical Mistake Number One: a highly reflective screen.

    Congratulations: not interested.
  • Gee they're releasing a low end laptop aimed at the education market... and the software it will run will be... umm Suse Linux or Vista and whatever else you buy. Am I the only one that thinks this is a little lacking in the "innovation" department. I mean the OLPC project looked at the needs of kids for education and tried to meet them with a customized OS and software, with real innovation, and an accompanying custom server and worldwide internet service contract all at a much lower price than this.

    This

    • by locokamil (850008)
      You forget that you'll actually be able to buy this one in the US. Sets it apart from the XO, which is apparently only for starving children in the developing world.
      • You forget that you'll actually be able to buy this one in the US. Sets it apart from the XO, which is apparently only for starving children in the developing world.

        You are mistaken, or perhaps looking at this from a different perspective. They (HP) removed the optical drive as a way to make sales to educational institutes. That is who they are marketing this to. The XO laptop is for sale to schools in the US. For example, Birmingham, Alabama purchased 15,000 of them.

        It is true that the XO laptops were never intended for individual sale anywhere (they are designed to work together as a mesh and with their dedicated server). Attempts to sell them within the US via th

  • by Groo Wanderer (180806) <charlie AT semiaccurate DOT com> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:39PM (#23002678) Homepage
    Netbooks/Nettops sounds so sterile and focus grouped. How about Crotchtops?

              -Charlie
  • IMS, the cost difference between Dell Linux and Vista laptops was not very much, even though the cost of the OS's was significant...can we expect the same in this case?
  • So my 8 year old sister and I were walking through Office Depot looking for printer ink when we ran across a pink Toshiba laptop ($1300). She says she loves it and wants it for her birthday. So I ask her what she needs a computer for and she says to write stories and surf the internet. This sounds like the perfect fit if it comes in pink or with the pics of some show from Disney, like Hannah Montana.
  • Remember the eMate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:19PM (#23003260)
    Remember Apple's eMate [wikipedia.org]? I always thought it was a terrible shame that this device wasn't allowed to live through a couple more versions. The OLPC arguably is better, but if the eMate were still around, I believe it could actually fulfill the promise of a $100 machine and that would be very cool.

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