Microsoft TechEd Australia attendees to receive free HP Mini netbook with Windows 7

hpminiwin7If any Aussies out there wasn’t entirely sure of going to the Microsoft TechEd Australia conference on the Gold Coast this year or not, then here’s an offer to nitro-boost your thought process a little. Microsoft Australia is going to be hosting the largest hands-on Windows 7 evaluation in the world by offering each paying attendee with one of 2,300 HP Mini netbook preloaded with Windows 7 for free.

From a freebie perspective, it’s difficult to imagine anything better. Whilst no person can ever have enough backpacks, drink bottles and glossy printed materials, a netbook on the other hand is not only fun but practical.

The particular netbook on offer is a HP Mini 2140 notebook which has actually been discontinued by HP just recently, but still packs a punch. It features an Intel Atom N270 processor, 160GB of storage, 10.1 inch (16×9) LED display. Microsoft will be preloading the latest public build of Windows 7 at the time (in September so presumably RTM) and attendees will be able to not only gain hands-on experience before the product launch, but also experience it on a netbook-class system, where it is said to perform very well.

techedFrom a conference perspective, this is also a smart move on Microsoft’s behalf to optimize the infrastructure necessary for hosting a large-scale event like TechEd. Attendees will be able to use the wireless connectivity to participate in collaborative development activities, download hand-out materials, presentations and communicate with other attendees using the webcam. However from experience the wireless networks are usually already-strained at an event like this, it’d be interesting to see how it will cope with every attendee potentially accessing the network wirelessly at the same time.

Of course, no freebie comes without a moral dilemma. At the conference, recipients of the netbook will be given the choice to receive the device as a gift or a loan. Those who do not need a netbook device can use the machine for the duration of the conference, after which it will be donated to the community sector through a local Microsoft initiative, On My Way, aimed at helping disadvantaged Australians develop technology skills.

To be eligible for this offer, attending must hold a paid registration. Unfortunately, this excludes sponsors, sponsor free tickets, exhibitors, volunteers, Microsoft staff (full-time and contingent), nor any delegate who has received a complimentary ticket (excluding non-Microsoft speakers).

31 insightful thoughts

  1. Long

    Thanks for breaking the news, again 🙂

    To answer some questions:

    Why the HP 2140? HP is our hardware sponsor for TechEd 2009, and the 2140 is a premium “netbook” … and we can get enough of them to test and hand out. We’ve loaded Windows 7 Beta and RC onto our test units, and err’d on the side of memory/diskspace over latest and greatest coolness. 2300+ netbooks being loaded in the week prior to TechEd is a large project with many risks. We’re reducing them to ensure delegates have fun. Not un-fun

    Wireless: this is a known risk we’re aware of, and are working with the venue to get this as right as we can. Some of the limitations are with wireless full stop. To help out, we’re expanding hard-wired connections; including power-recharge areas with spare adaptors.

    I love the loan-to-donate to charity side. Not all delegates will be permitted to take their netbooks back to work due to gifting policies… and we have lots of people who need IT skills for future employment. I joined the dots to make this happen. Personally, this is the best part of this for me: giving back to Australia, not just taking.

    This is going to be a big learning experience: which is the whole point of TechEd.

    Win7/Mini-notes at TechEd Project Manager,

  2. @Jason: sorry… I am the project manager and I don’t even get one 🙁

    @Manmohanjit: the project implementation team is planning for the “latest version we can install as per our schedule”

  3. Just bought my ticket – was already planning to go – but this is a great idea, better than lugging my full-size laptop around during the event ! Yay !

  4. If you pay for the confo, and get one of those Mini slaptops, I don’t quite see the problem here… it’s not a freebie then, surely?

  5. I have one of these units running Windows 7 build 7201.

    Apart from the smaller screen (with less vertical lines which I believe HP updated in later versions of the same unit), its a great little unit. Well built, good performance, light and nice keyboard.

    Well done MS – and lucky attendees!

  6. I have an Acer Aspire One AOA-150-1777 with the same graphics card as the HP Mini mentioned here, the Intel Atom N270 and under windows 7 upgrade advisor it says my graphics card is not powerful enough for Aero. Why would they give away a computer with an unsupported graphics card? Will my computer work with Windows 7?

  7. Very nice. My employer won’t pay for Tech Ed this year, but I have been considering paying my own way – and this netbook will more than likely convince me to fork out the funds and go.

  8. @Nick
    I guess that if MS pulls it off, all those things you are concerned about will be excellent selling points!

  9. I’m just looking forward to picking from among the various ARM-based Linux running smartbooks that are being launched by many hardware vendors. Full day battery life, no moving parts (no fans, no hd), decent screens, full size keyboard, and around $200 each…

  10. I went to TechEd and picked up one of these and to be honest I have never had soooo many problems with connecting to a wireless network. Brought it back and rebuilt it with the Win 7 supplied and cannot successfully connect to any wireless network for any resonable amount of time. Since then searching the web they are plagued by people who cannot connect. Well done HP, you SUCK. No wonder they were trying to give them away.

  11. Sure it’s something wrong with the hardware, Chris? Try running the latest Ubuntu Linux off a USB key – it’ll boot right off it, and you should be able to test the wifi within a minute or so (no drivers to install)… will let you determine if it’s HP or Win 7 that sucks – I know what I’m suspecting 🙂

  12. he particular netbook on offer is a HP Mini 2140 notebook which has actually been discontinued by HP just recently, but still packs a punch. It features an Intel Atom N270 processor, 160GB of storage, 10.1 inch (16×9) LED display. Microsoft will be preload

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