Hewlett Packard unveiled on Tuesday a small laptop, joining the growing market of pint-sized computers which is dominated by Intel Corp., and Asustek Computers Inc.

HP's new laptops can basically be used for surfing the internet and performing other basic functions such as word processing.

Intel labeled its small laptops netbooks and forecasted more than 50 million netbooks to be in circulation by 2011.

HP said its new small laptops will be available in the market later this month. The referring to the new machines as beingare part of the firm's major efforts to build expand in the school market share in schoolsshare, where machines have to be smaller and cheaper without losing too many functions.

HP's The small laptop called Mini Note weighs less than 3 pounds with a screen measuring 8.9 inches diagonally and will be available at about $500 for Linux-based model although the prices will go up for Windows Vista models with which have faster processors.

HP executives admitted that its Mini-Note lacks an optical drive for ingesting DVDs and CD-ROMs, but they can be bought separately and used on the machine. This decision came after saying that many schools requested the drives to should be left out to prevent students from playing unauthorized games.

The Mini-Note will help HP compete favorably with Intel's Classmate PCs which are designed by Intel, featuringfeature Intel chips although they are built and branded by other companies.

The firm will also meet other competitors in the small computer business such as XO laptop from Cambridge for a nonprofit One Laptop per Child (OLPC), which is intended primarily for school children in developing countries.

Intel and OLPC revealed that they had sold many Classmate PCs since they went on sale last year.