HP cuts notebook prices

Hewlett-Packard cuts prices by as much as 20 percent on Pentium MMX notebooks, preparing the way for newer Pentium II models.

Hewlett-Packard cut prices by as much as 20 percent on notebook PCs using Intel's mobile Pentium MMX processor, preparing the way for newer models using the recently introduced mobile Pentium II chip.

Both the OmniBook 5700CT and the 2000C models now cost less than $2,000, a price point that has become the notebook's market's low-cost touchstone.

The 5700CT, with a 166-MHz Pentium MMX chip, a 2GB hard drive, 32MB of memory, and a 12.1-inch passive-matrix display, falls to an estimated $1,829. Also including a 166-MHz Pentium MMX chip and a 2GB hard drive but incorporating 16MB of memory and a 12.1-inch active-matrix display, the low-end 2000C now goes for $1,799.

HP also cut the price of its 3000CTX model, which comes with a 233-MHz Pentium MMX chip, a 4GB hard drive, and a 13-3.-inch screen. The corporate system falls to $2,699.

The price action follows last week's introduction of the mobile Pentium II, as HP plans to roll out at least two new models using the chip later this quarter. Priced around $4,900, the OmniBook 7100 will be a 266-MHz Pentium II with a 14-inch screen, according to industry sources.

Later in the year, HP will introduce a thinner form factor using the Pentium II called the OmniBook 4100. The 4100 is designed to compete with IBM's popular Thinkpad 560 series.

"We're going to phase these [Pentium MMX] notebooks out," an HP spokeswoman confirmed. "We're making room."