Hewlett Packard ( HPQ) showed off new low-cost, fashion-inspired mini-laptops Wednesday in a bid to tap into the growing demand for super-portable laptops.

The company took the wraps off its Mini 1000 family, with prices pegged under $400 in a fast-growing niche, where there is stiff price competition.

HP unveiled its first Mini six months ago that was priced at $499. And Dell ( DELL ) recently launched a $349 version of its Inspiron Mini.

The Mini 1000 is offered in Windows and Linux versions and is targeted at fashionistas with stylish touches that were created in collaboration with designer Vivienne Tam.

The Mini Vivienne Tam Edition, which comes in vibrant red, with a flower-design, has been dubbed the world's first "digital clutch," and was apparently mistaken for a purse at Tam's recent Spring show.

By teaming up with Vivienne Tam, HP is looking to offer a funky, female-focused alternative to other mini laptops, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group.

"You're seeing a big push towards making laptops more fashionable and personal," he said, noting the big role design has played in Apple's success.

HP, which is up against Asus, Acer, Lenovo and Samsung in the crowded low-end notebook market, is not the first laptop company to team up with an artist or designer. Dell, for example, began offering laptops covered with tattoo-inspired designs by artist Mike Ming earlier this year.

Mini-laptops, also known as "netbooks," are growing in popularity with consumers looking for a cheaper, lighter alternative to desktops and traditional laptops.

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