LG looking to get into mini-notebooks?

A report says MSI has been tapped to make a Netbook for the Korean electronics giant.

Perhaps the better question is, "Who isn't getting into mini-notebooks these days?"

The latest rumor floating around is that Korean electronics giant LG has asked MSI to build for it a tiny notebook based on Intel's Netbook reference design containing an Atom processor.

This one was started by Digitimes, and it says that MSI will make a Windows XP-based mini-notebook with an 8.9-inch screen, 2GB of memory, and a 120GB hard drive.

HP Mini-Note
The Mini-Note from HP is a full-featured notebook in a tiny package. Hewlett-Packard

Those specs are closer to Hewlett-Packard's mini-notebook, the 2133 Mini-Note , released this spring, than MSI's much-talked about Netbook, the Wind . (MSI and LG couldn't be reached for comment, but we'll update if we hear back.)

HP's machine has a 9-inch screen, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive or 64GB SSD, and comes with the option of Windows XP or Vista. It's also got a pretty hefty price tag--it starts at $499 and can get above $1,000 depending on the configuration.

The Digitimes report pegs the price for an LG Netbook in the same range, from $625 to $790. If true, this would fit in with the idea mentioned in April with the launch of the Mini-Note that there's a fork developing in the tiny-notebook segment.

Acer Aspire One netbook
Acer Aspire One is a low-cost, Linux-based Web companion. Acer

Asus has pretty much got the low-cost notebook market covered with its Eee PC . They're small, cheap, run Linux, and basically are good for surfing the Web and checking e-mail. There are mainstream PC makers already playing in that realm too, like Acer's Aspire One.

The Mini-Note and the description of LG's potential entry in the category have greater ambitions: they're really just full-featured Windows notebooks cut down to size. Though HP has defined its market (it says the Mini-Note is for mobile executives and the education market), it's unclear who LG would be targeting with such a notebook.

PC industry analysts continue to say there's limited appeal with these types of devices because the mainstream consumer can't use it as a primary computer. And PC makers are more or less unenthused since all they do is drive down prices on full-size notebooks. But most are jumping in anyway. With margins thinning out on PCs, even the big guys like HP and Dell--which will release a mini-notebook next month--can ill afford to .

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.


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