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Mitsubishi unveils mini-notebook

Selling for $2,000 at Egghead Computer, the Amity CN competes with Toshiba's Libretto.

Mitsubishi has unveiled a computer that competes with Toshiba in the emerging market for "mini-notebook" computers.

The notebook is already being offered at select Egghead Computer stores for $1,999.

Mitsubishi plans to officially introduce the mini-notebook by the end of October. It is a competitor to Toshiba's Libretto.

The Amity CN is a Windows 95-based machine which comes with a 133-MHz Pentium processor, 16MB of memory, a 7.5-inch color display, and a keyboard that's larger than the Libretto. By comparison, the Libretto has a 75-MHz Pentium processor and 6.1-inch display.

Mini-notebooks are lighter and smaller than typical notebooks and usually run Windows 95, in contrast to the current crop of handheld PCs, which run the Windows CE operating system. Although even smaller than ultralight notebooks such as Apple's 2400 and IBM's ThinkPad 560, the Amity offers processing power equivalent to that found in the low end of the current standard-sized notebook market.

Prior to the introduction of the Libretto, mini-notebooks with reduced-size keyboards had not sold in very high numbers in the U.S. market, mostly due to the difficulty of typing on them. Mitsubishi's device will offer a bigger keyboard than the Libretto in an attempt to find users who desire a high level of portability and access to information while away from desktop PCs. So far, the Libretto has been a big seller at retailers.

Mitsubishi has been increasing its activity in the U.S. notebook market of late. The company is working with Hewlett-Packard on producing a superthin (.7-inch) notebook with 12.1-inch display that weighs 3.1 pounds and will be available with a 200-MHz or 233-MHz Tillamook processor. The notebook will be sold in the U.S. by HP under the OmniBook name, while Mitsubishi will sell it as the Pediom in Japan.

The introduction of the Amity CN also marks the wholesale start of Mitshubishi's push into the U.S. market. It is one of the last major Japanese electronics manufacturers to enter the U.S. market, entering after the likes of Toshiba, Sony, Hitachi, Fujitsu.

The Amity CN will be available initially at EggHead Computer, according to a Mitsubishi spokesperson.