updated 08:45 am EDT, Wed June 23, 2010
HP Mini 100e designed, toughened for kids
HP today put out its first netbook designed just for kids. The Mini 100e Education Edition (link active soon) has an entirely new chassis designed to take the wider range of abuse likely at school. A handle is built in to make it easier to carry for children, and the shell is both friendlier and more durable; the keyboard is spillproof, and the display hinges are a mix of alloys and steel to prevent them from breaking in a fall.
The system's innards are also more advanced than many of HP's existing netbooks and run on the new 1.66GHz Atom N455 chip with 1GB of DDR3 memory. Moving on the newer platform also helps with battery life, which can be deliberately shortened with a three-cell battery or extended with a six-cell pack.
Software is important as the phone comes with both the obvious Office 2010 install as well as Microsoft Math and other learning apps.
For now, the Mini 100e is targeted at the schools themselves and will sell in bulk for under $300 per netbook when it's ready in July. HP hasn't discussed individual sales, but the original HP Mini netbooks were aimed at a similar audience and were eventually sold to the wider public.