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HP Unveils First-Ever Touch-Enabled Netbook

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Hewlett-Packard Co is releasing a host of new laptops and netbooks as the technology giant looks to build on its recent momentum in the personal computer market.

The world’s largest PC maker unveiled its first-ever touch-enabled netbook as part of its product rollout for the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place this week in Las Vegas.

The rapid growth of netbooks has bolstered the PC market during the economic downturn. The low-cost PCs are expected to make up roughly one-fifth of all of portable PC shipments this year, according to DisplaySearch, a big jump from 2008.

The Mini 5102, HP’s first touchscreen netbook, sports a 10-inch display, weighs in at 2.6 pounds and is being targeted at students and professionals.

It features face recognition software and Intel Corp’s next-generation Atom netbook processor, Pineview. It will sell for $399 in the United States.

HP also unveiled the $299 Mini 210 targeted at consumers and the $329 Mini 2102 aimed at business users.

The 10-inch netbooks feature QuickWeb, Linux-based software that allows access to the Internet and files in seconds without booting up.

HP has been heavily promoting touch technology across its PC line, and the company is rolling out its latest full-fledged touch laptop, the TouchSmart tm2, which has a screen that swivels and can lie flat in a tablet mode.

The $949 device features a 12-inch display with capacitive multitouch technology like that found in smartphones and works with either a finger or stylus pen.

HP has continued to gain share in the PC market despite the economic downturn, with both its consumer and commercial PCs performing well.

The company shipped nearly 16 million units in the July-September quarter, according to industry tracker IDC, up 9.3 percent from a year ago.

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