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HP Unveils Small Commercial Linux Laptop

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the micro-penguins-on-the-go dept.

HP 242

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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500 bucks? (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001702)

Try again.

DON'T PANIC (1)

HalifaxRage (640242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001816)

I am sure they'll find some way to tie in some advertising and knock the price down.

Re:500 bucks? (4, Funny)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001896)

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

Re:500 bucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002182)

I'm afraid you've got that backwards.

Re:500 bucks? (1, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002252)

Price inflation? 'Fraid not, sir: If a gallon of water cost $0.25 in 1970 (I don't know the actual price) and it costs $1.50 in 2008, then $1.50 now is $0.25 in 1970 dollars (assuming the actual cost of water in terms of everything else did not change).

"Try Again" (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:"Try Again" (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002226)

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" (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002354)

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:"Try Again" (1)

ericartman (955413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002512)

Out of the box? Not in my experience, not wine, not Cedega, not Crossover, none of these work OTB. I am not alone, read their forums. Admittedly my system having an 8800 nvidia card probably causes most of my problems, but then I push all my video to the max ingame and Linux just hasn't caught up yet, at least in WoW, as I said in my experience. Flame on if you must but that is my experience.

Re:"Try Again" (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002692)

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? :)

Re:"Try Again" (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002282)

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)?

Re:"Try Again" (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002570)

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 specs I'd have killed for back in college running MAME.

Trust me: if there is a way, the kids WILL find it.

You forget.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002306)

...that Linux is open source. HP could easily modify the distro this ships with to disable all those workarounds you mention.

Re:You forget.... (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002600)

And you forget how easy that would be to fix [pendrivelinux.com] . Format, copy in your preferred distro (Or if you prefer, load in a flavor of Windows more to your liking)... presto!

Re:"Try Again" (5, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:"Try Again" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002628)

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

Looks like this one from 2004. Sort of. (1)

danamania (540950) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002594)

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? (5, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:1.6GHz? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001984)

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? (2, Informative)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002542)

You are plain wrong. Vista will be offered with the C-7 1.6Ghz chips at launch. Units have been out for review for a while now; embargo dropped at midnight. Here is one such review: http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/04/jkontherun-revi.html [jkontherun.com]

Re:1.6GHz? (5, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:1.6GHz? (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002174)

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.

Re:1.6GHz? (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002196)

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? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (5, Funny)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002812)

For a cat, being caught spelling something incorrectly is the height of humiliation.



wut dat u sez?

I can has werd chekerz?

Re:1.6GHz? (4, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002274)

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? (1, Informative)

backpackcomputing (1249130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002278)

I don't think the 1.6 GHz CPU is worth paying extra for. The base model is $499, but for $549 you get 1 GB of RAM, 1.2 GHz Via CPU and Vista Basic. Importantly, you can opt to go with Windows XP and get a license for Vista so you can "upgrade" later. As far as the competition, Asus will be introducing an 8.9 inch screen on the Eee PC shortly and it may also include Intel's 45 NM "Atom" CPU. For more details and a link to purchase check out http://backpackcomputing.com/ [backpackcomputing.com]

Something lined up (2, Insightful)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Something lined up (2, Funny)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001892)

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.

Hey check this out! (4, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002024)

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

Re:Hey check this out! (2, Informative)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002266)

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'.

Time to offend just about everybody (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002540)

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 adjustment for recent changes in global currencies.

Whatever. There are cheaper options but the more diversity in the market the better from my point of view. Just keep the watts down. I don't want the third world burning 350W of carbon per schoolkid just to join us online. The gamers with their >1HP monster gaming rigs are bad enough.

Re:Something lined up (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002028)

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:Something lined up (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002238)

50M units isn't a crazy amount for the kind of market they're aiming for - the pre-release publicity was pushing it as a "lifestyle accessory" which people would buy as unthinkingly as a new mobile phone. For comparison, the Razr sold 50M units in about two years, the iPod shifted over 100M in 6 years, and the Nokia 3310 sold 126M in about 5 years.

for $500 i could get... (5, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001752)

a core2duo laptop with a 120gb HDD and a DVD rewritable drive... not to mention a 15.6inch screen -_-

Re:for $500 i could get... (5, Insightful)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001950)

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.

Re:for $500 i could get... (1)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002852)

[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:for $500 i could get... (1, Insightful)

paulpach (798828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001954)

...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:for $500 i could get... (0, Flamebait)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002008)

Yes, what I'm really looking for in a carry-anywhere writing machine is a 15.6-inch, 5lb desktop replacement.

Re:for $500 i could get... (2, Interesting)

fyleow (1098657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002044)

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 the Via though, initial reviews say it's very slow...They might be prepping to use the VIA Isaiah which is pin compatible though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VIA_Isaiah [wikipedia.org]

Re:for $500 i could get... (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002342)

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.

Re:for $500 i could get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002358)

not to mention a 15.6inch screen -_-

For notebooks smaller screens are often more expensive

Re:for $500 i could get... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002460)

The inevitable "I can get a bigger and faster machine for the same price" post. These are getting irritating. Smaller size and lighter weight are features.

Re:for $500 i could get... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002726)

With good linux driver support? Pointers, please, I need one. :)

Re:for $500 i could get... (1)

cens0r (655208) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002818)

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 powerful. I want it to be small and portable. I'd like it to be cheap. This fits the bill.

Authorized by whom (2, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#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] .

Re:Authorized by whom (1)

Farakin (1101889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001794)

because kids in the know can't totally run a virtual cdrom and play ISO's....who the hell is making decisions in this Mickey Mouse Operation?

Re:Authorized by whom (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001888)

Scrooge McDuck, actually.

Re:Authorized by whom (1)

stavrosg (893274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002200)

Sounds better in the ears of the uniformed parent than "Optical drives have been left out to save on space, weight and cost". It is all the same to me, though.

Re:Authorized by whom (1)

Skuldo (849919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002048)

Its just flamebait - the real reason they have no drives in is because it would make them more expensive, heavier, larger and more battery hogs, not to mention that they're totally unneeded for what they will be used for.

no games = no apps (1)

krondell (1147917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002150)

I've always understood games to in fact be regular applications - ie not being able to install games would imply not being able to install anything. Sweet.

Block DirectX (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002548)

I've always understood games to in fact be regular applications
That may be true of turn-based games with very little animation, such as Minesweeper or Solitaire. But if only apps signed by the PC's owner (that is, the parent or school corporation) can open DirectX, good luck playing anything more sophisticated.

Re:Authorized by whom (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002564)

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.

What happened to the vision... (3, Insightful)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001758)

... 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

Re:What happened to the vision... (1)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001814)

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:What happened to the vision... (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002020)

p.s. By 2011? Imagine the kind of technologies that will be out in the marketplace in 3-4 years....(sigh) 50 million units by 2011 doesn't mean they're going to drop 50 million units ON the market IN 2011. They're just using that figure as a target goal for units produced by 2011. Like any computer, they won't all be the same specs, just similar models in a similar line. At least I'd hope so >_

Re:What happened to the vision... (2, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002296)

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.

vision or goose chase? (1)

njjr (1269534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002750)

Does this device provide $500 worth of educational value, or are have we all just assumed that computers are now essential classroom furniture, and this is a good deal? A cheap computer is still a large educational expense that contributes very little on its own. Was there something that kids were learning before during the school day that we can now remove or teach better with this? How much educational value does a portable web browser and word processing machine really add? Are we going to start seeing standardized testing based on web research skills? Are we going to be able to teach people how to express themselves better because of the type of pen and paper they use to organize their thoughts? By the time kids need a computer in school, they need something that can do more than this. Computers have helped to enable distance learning, but when a live teacher is present, I think the âoecheap enough for every studentâ computer model dilutes more than it enables concentration.

creators re-unveil planet/population rescue effort (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23001772)

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as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Asus EEE anybody (1)

MarkH (8415) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001782)

Available today for under $500

Runs Linux so no need for chunky processor - doddle to use and no moving bits like Harddrive or DVD drive to break.

Optical left out because of games huh... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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!"

I've got a name! (3, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001790)

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.

Re:I've got a name! (1)

Thanus (615133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002104)

Or "NetBook Ether" because that's what you'd need to be huffed up on to be willing to pay $500 for that laptop.

Re:I've got a name! (4, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002630)

How about the "ME-2"?

Well...yeah (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001792)

"The machines start at under $500 for a Linux-based model... [It] lacks is an optical drive for ingesting DVDs and CD-ROMs... many schools requested the drives be left out to prevent students from playing unauthorized games."

Was that REALLY necessary :P ?

Correction to summary (4, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?).

Re:Correction to summary (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002582)

It kind does have the name though: the 2133. Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue though.

Re:Correction to summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002888)

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?).
UMPC ... not sexy.

hmmm. (1, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001890)

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? (4, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002326)

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.

unauthorized games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23001906)

these could always be accessed over whatever network connections these devices have even without DVD drives - kind of seems silly unless it's to reduce costs.

Access != execution (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002762)

[alleged wastes of time] could always be accessed over whatever network connections these devices have even without DVD drives
Accessed, yes. Executed, no. Please see my other comment [slashdot.org] .

Unauthorized games (3, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001922)

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? (4, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001924)

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.

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002806)

Not to mention the older sibling who bartPE's a copy of XP onto it (for fun). Managing to run a VM or hiding a partition to install XP on and mounts iso with DAEMON tools and games away off his 4Gb usb key. Intentions are good.

Just like my schools' filter I bypassed when my teacher asked to to help another student download an MP3 (of which he had a cd). I VNCed to my dyn-dns and to my amazement, it was goatse. Was I embarrassed, never the less, teacher looked away, and I emailed him an MP3. '

Protect the children from goatse!!!

Re:Games? (1)

Samuel Dravis (964810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002826)

Or Shockwave. There have been Quake3 ports on Shockwave, the quality of which is just as good as the original games. Damn kids.

Re:Games? (1)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002856)

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 CD drive to do anything.

I can tell most of you don't walk to work... (1)

neildiamond (610251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001962)

I've always dreamed of more competition in the tiny laptop market. I'm not sure this HP machine is the best example, but if I walk to work and want to do my own projects on the way, this is perfect. I'm not an average consumer in the US, but even some 14" models seem bulky when 30 mins of your commute is on foot, the sun is blazing and your back is covered in sweat by the time you walk in the door. Finally PC makers are starting to understand what portable is. Yes, there is sometimes a price for that.

Still compared to the SONY $2000+ model, it is a deal. AND NO 17" and 19" "laptops" are not laptops. They are overpriced, slightly-movable desktops.

Better info (2, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001988)

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 release [hp.com] is a good start.

Yeah.. (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002002)

but does it ru... nm.

Corporate idiocy (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002078)

"Optical drives have been left out to prevent kids from playing 'unauthorized games."

Riiiight. So kids have never heard of a flash drive?

Re:Corporate idiocy (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002684)

So kids have never heard of a flash drive?
So I go to somebody else's house, download Lockjaw Tetromino Game [pineight.com] onto a Kingston flash drive, put the flash drive in my laptop, and try to run it. But all I get is the parental control alert box:

Administrative Controls
The program "lj.exe" could not be run, because it has not been signed by an administrator.
[ Request Approval... ] [ Cancel ]

Schools should pick up on this (1)

barius (1224526) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002092)

FTA: "But they say many schools requested the drives be left out to prevent students from playing unauthorized games."
I find that interesting as historically manufacturers just try to fast talk schools into buying the latest and greatest when in fact those products just encourage the kids to play instead of work. I think schools that want to equip their students with a tool instead of a toy should take a close look at these things. In this case the 'limitations' may be a 'feature'!

Why Linux? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002142)

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 (2, Informative)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002162)

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.

Madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002254)

Optical drives left out to prevent gaming, hmmm?

Wonder how they got games installed on the graphing calculators and cell phones the kids have right now since those devices also lack optical drives.

How about just 'fessing up and saying "optical drives were not included in an effort to reduce costs, and to improve the lifespan and durability of the units"?

pathetic excuse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002272)

i wonder if they really think removing optical drives prevents kids from playing games they aren't supposed to be playing. I don't know about the rest of you, but when i was in grade school i was perfectly capable of downloading an iso and mounting it virtually. The market for these is probably poor old grandma who doesn't know what these machines SHOULD cost, but still wants something to email the grandkids with.

Seriously, kids these days grew up with laptops, you think they don't know better?

group think in action (0, Flamebait)

mbaGeek (1219224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002288)

my nomination for a name is "brick" - as in "useful as a brick"

I imagine the people who will find this laptop most useful are Intel executives.

governments/NGO will probably end up subsidizing most of the cost to get the price down (under $200) - that will mean good things for Intel's bottom line (and I'm not criticizing them for wanting to make a profit)

hopefully I'm wrong about the usefulness of the machine but still sounds like a potential brick to me...

RTFA please (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002704)

I imagine the people who will find this laptop most useful are Intel executives.

Seeing as it uses a Via CPU, I somehow doubt Intel will find it useful.

Wow... (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002368)

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.

Re:Wow... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002714)

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 (5, Interesting)

Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

what a silly excuse (3, Insightful)

kris.montpetit (1265946) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23002486)

A hardware solution to the problem of too many games under Linux!

No Thanks (1)

KlausBreuer (105581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002558)

On the photo we can very clearly see Classical Mistake Number One: a highly reflective screen.

Congratulations: not interested.

Re:No Thanks (5, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002738)

I thought classical mistake number one was "don't get involved in a land war in Asia"

Classical Mistake Number One? (5, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002758)

What happened to "Never go up against a Sicilian when Death is on the line?"

It's the Software Stupid (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002576)

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 is just pathetic. This competes with the XO laptop in the same way PC's compete with the Wii. This is just a generic low end laptop with an above average price point and some empty marketing hype.

Hey HP, here's a clue for you. Why don't you copy the XO laptop's basic design, but with a better processor and ship it with both the OLPC OS and Vista pre-installed, maybe with an easy hardware switch so kids can actually switch OS's easily. Add some nice, customized software for one or both of those OS's that is actually aimed at the education market. Or here's another idea, ship it with Vista and a pre-installed VM running the OLPC in emulation with the option to run it in fullscreen mode easily and good hooks for all the hardware. Do SOMETHING to actually make this a better option for kids in education than everything else already on the market at a lower price point. Pre-announcing a new product that is an overpriced low end machine specifically without a CD drive is not going to cut it, regardless of how good your marketing hype is.

I'm seriously disappointed by this crap and feel you just don't get it.

Netbooks is lame (3, Funny)

Groo Wanderer (180806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002678)

Netbooks/Nettops sounds so sterile and focus grouped. How about Crotchtops?

          -Charlie

1.6GHz? (1)

cloakable (885764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002752)

WTH? Since when has 1.6GHz been needed for basic tasks like internet, email, and instant messaging? Give it a lower power processor, and grab some battery life. Or grab an old ultraportable off ebay. I had a thinkpad 240 for some years. It could hide under a sheet of A4, and had great battery life.
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