HP targets netbooks with new laptop

HP combats the netbook craze with an ultrathin laptop, the Pavilion DV2Z, which has AMD's dual-core Neo chip

Countering the netbook craze, Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday introduced a thin and light laptop, the Pavilion DV2Z, which will deliver full PC functionality at a competitive price.

The laptop will offer more processing power and graphics capabilities than its predecessor, the Pavilion DV2, which was launched in January. It will be powered by Advanced Micro Devices' new dual-core Neo chip, an upgrade from the single-core Neo chip in the original DV2.

The laptop will include a 12.1-inch screen and weigh around 3.81 pounds (1.7 kilograms). It will be around an inch at its thinnest point. HP didn't provide an estimated battery life for the laptop.

Users will get stronger graphics with the AMD's Radeon 3200 integrated graphics, which will be part of the Congo platform of chips. That should enable faster decoding of high-definition content and provide a better overall multimedia experience than traditional netbooks.

HP will provide up to 500GB of storage, and offer optical drive options like Blu-ray with the laptop. The company is also offering a separate graphics card as an option. The company said orders for the laptop can be placed at HP's Web site, but didn't provide an actual ship date.

Priced starting at US$599, the strong features make DV2Z a giant upgrade over netbooks, which are typically priced between $300 and $500 and offer limited functionality. AMD puts thin and light laptops like the DV2Z in the category of consumer PCs called "ultrathin" laptops, which provide PC functionality at affordable prices without compromising on features.

Ultrathin laptops are as portable as netbooks and provide adequate performance to run most applications, like high-definition multimedia, casual gaming and productivity applications.

The chip company contends that netbooks, though cheap, provide limited functionality, while ultraportables like MacBook Air are too expensive, with prices above US$1,500.

AMD faces competition in the ultrathin space from rival Intel, which announced new single-core chips for ultrathin laptops last week. Those chips have been adopted by PC makers like Lenovo and MSI.

HP also launched the Pavilion DV3T laptop, which is priced starting at $649. The laptop has a 13.3-inch screen and weighs under five pounds. The laptops are powered by Intel chips and run the Windows Vista OS. The DV3T supports up to 500GB of storage and 8GB of memory.

The laptop comes with a six-cell battery that provides about four hours of battery life, or an optional 9-cell battery that provides 7 hours of battery life.

Other new laptops, including HP Pavilion DV6T, which starts $649, and Pavilion DV6Z Artist Edition 2, which starts at $949, include 16-inch screens and are loaded with multimedia features. The laptops run Intel chips and come with the Windows Vista OS.

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