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Hitachi launches mini-notebook

Hitachi chimes in with a diminutive mini-notebook of its own to compete with Toshiba and Mitsubishi.

Hitachi has announced a mini-notebook, following in the footsteps of Toshiba and Mitsubishi.

The VisionBook Traveler competes with Toshiba?s Libretto and Mitsubishi's Amity mini-notebook models.

Mini-notebooks run Windows 95 and are much lighter and smaller than typical notebooks; but they are slightly larger than Windows CE handhelds, which run the less-powerful Windows CE operating system.

The Hitachi mini-notebook has a 133-MHz MMX Pentium processor, features an 8.4-inch screen, and weighs about 2.7 pounds. Most mainstream notebooks weigh five pounds or more and come with 150- or 166-MHz MMX processors. The Hitachi product should be priced between $2,500 and $2,800.

The 8.4-inch active-matrix LCD screen is the largest on a mini-notebook to date, and from a screen-size perspective, actually harks back to some of the earliest laptop computers which came out in the early '90s. Many of these carried 8.4-inch active-matrix screens.

By comparison, the Mitsubishi notebook has a 7.5-inch color display, while the Toshiba Libretto has a 6.1-inch display.

Prior to the introduction of the Libretto, mini-notebooks--or subnotebooks as they are referred to generically--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. But so far, the Libretto has sold well at some retailers.