Asustek, Intel at work on $199 laptop

The devices are intended for emerging markets and schools

TAIPEI -- Taiwanese hardware maker Asustek Computer Inc. is working with Intel Corp. on a line of notebook PCs priced as low as $199, according to one of the chip maker's top executives.

The new line of notebooks is intended for users in emerging markets and education, said Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing group. He announced the initiative with Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih during a speech at the Computex exhibition, which started here today.

"The entry-level notebooks for that will start at $199, street price," Maloney said.

The new notebooks are similar to Intel's Classmate PC notebooks, a line of low-cost machines aimed at schools in developing markets. The notebooks will have an Intel processor and either a 7-in. or 10-in. screen. They will come with Wi-Fi, a solid-state hard disk, and run either Linux or Windows XP.

"It's totally new. It's going to have the Classmate PC brand on it, but it will be sold and shipped by Asus," Maloney said, calling the notebooks a complement to Intel's current Classmate PC line.

"We're delighted there's another product here that can be used to address this problem," he said.

The $199 price of the low-end version of Asustek's new laptop is not far from the current price of the One Laptop Per Child's (OLPC) laptop. In April, OLPC raised the price of its upcoming XO laptop, commonly called the $100 laptop, to $175.

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