Ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show this week PC makers are sending a distinct message: The sub-$1,000 laptop is the new $2,000 laptop. You can get more functionality, style and even a little fashion for a grand. Meanwhile, the push to merge the netbook and notebook categories is well underway. On Tuesday, HP announced two notebooks and a desktop. The lineup includes the HP Pavilion dv2, dv3 and an HP Firebird with Voodoo DNA desktop PC. HP also added a new Mini to the mix.
Like Lenovo on Monday, HP is pitching these notebooks as entertainment PCs. The dv2 (right), which starts at $699, is a little less than an inch thick and weighs about 3.8 pounds. Hard drive options go up to 500 GB. The notebook, which is powered by AMD's Neo platform also known as Yukon, has a 12.1 inch screen. The dv2, however, won't be available until April.Brooke Crothers at CNET News has the AMD side of the story. The HP dv2 illustrates how AMD is trying to make the distinction between netbooks and ultraportable notebooks. Crothers writes:
AMD is introducing new chips at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that target the no-man's land between Netbooks and notebooks (statement). Typically, these designs are referred to as ultraportables--the most salient examples being Apple's MacBook Air, the Toshiba Portege, and the Sony Vaio TT series.
So what makes AMD's platform different? In one word, price. Ultraportables fall into the boutique category of laptops: very stylish, very slim, very light--and very expensive. Usually ranging between $1,500 and $3,000. HP's notebook with Athlon Neo silicon cuts the price in half. The Pavilion dv2 will start at $699 and top out at $899 for standard configurations.
Add it up and you can have a bunch of debating the semantics over ultraportables, notebooks and netbooks but the devices are all converging on lower prices.
HP's dv3 is bulkier and weighs 4.35 pounds with a 13.3 inch screen. The dv3 starts at $799, runs on AMD's Turion Ultra X2 chip and is available today. HP also announced a desktop dubbed the HP Firebird with Voodoo DNA. The Firebird is the successor to the HP Blackbird 002. It will run you $1,799.
Separately, HP rolled out a new HP Mini that weighs in at 2.6 pounds (Techmeme). The HP Mini 2140 (right) has a 10.1 inch screen and starts at $499. The latest HP Mini is available "later this month."
The larger question is whether folks will pay $499 for the HP Mini with a 10.1 inch screen when they could wait until April for the dv2, which has a 12.1 inch screen and only weights a pound or so more. The price difference is only $200. AMD is betting that folks will weigh that question carefully. After playing with a netbook for a few months I'd probably pay $200 more for a bigger screen and lug around an extra pound.
Mini vs. dv2: What's your pick?