HP Mini-Note: rebates, larger display tipping off near-term refresh?

HpmininoteNo official news to report here, but there’s a bit of two and two that could equal four. HP was the first big-brand vendor to follow Asus into the netbook market by launching their HP Mini-note back in April. Our hands-on review video showed it to be a very capable yet highly portable device.Fast forward to current day and now there’s a slew of netbooks available, most of which use the Intel Atom CPU, which is designed specifically for these types of computers. Intel’s Atom wasn’t available to manufacturers until after the HP Mini-note launched, so it simply wasn’t an option. HP’s basic choices were older CPUs like the Intel Celeron or VIA C7-M and they went with the latter.

The C7-M is long in the tooth at this point and VIA has already announced its successor, the Nano, which uses the same socket as the C7-M. It’s not a stretch then to see HP upgrade the Mini-note with a low-voltage version of the Nano once the CPU becomes readily available. Or they could join the crowd, redesign their motherboard & socket and use an Intel Atom CPU. Either way, there’s a valid and almost expected upgrade path on the CPU side of the Mini-note.Adding to the mix are $50 and $100 rebates on the HP Mini-note through Amazon right now. Want that high-end model with the 1.6 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 120 GB hard drive that spins at 7200 RPM and Windows Vista Business? HP will sell it to you direct for $829, but after rebate you can nab it from Amazon for $643.99.And then of course, there’s that HP Mini-note with the 10-inch display seen earlier this month. A refresh could use the same core guts, but if you’re going to produce an updated product, why not get all the updates you reasonably can in there?Between an older CPU, forthcoming model with larger screen and a rebate, perhaps a refresh is right around the corner. The Amazon rebate requires you to purchase by the end of this month, so stay tuned through October and November. I could be wrong, but my gut tells me that we’ll hear some news out of HP during that time. Then again, CES is right around the corner in January so maybe my gut is jumping the gun on this one.

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