'World's cheapest laptop' now available

A company is now selling what it calls the "world's cheapest laptop," which, at $130, is not a bad deal if you can bear some hardware limitations.

The Impulse NPX-9000 laptop has a 7-in. screen and comes with the Linux operating system. It has a 400-MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, 1GB of flash storage and an optional wireless networking dongle. It includes office productivity software, a Web browser and multimedia software.

There's a caveat though -- it has to bought in bulk, in units of 100. The laptop is available on Alibaba.com through the online store of Taiwanese company Carapelli Ltd.

The cheapest laptop to date was known to be One Laptop Per Child's (OLPC) XO laptop, available at $188 for a limited time late last year. While a technological landmark, it had some hardware shortcomings such as a slow processor and limited graphics capabilities.

The laptop hints toward a trend of declining PC prices. Last week, a company called CherryPal introduced a $249 mini-desktop, also running a 400-MHz processor, with 256MB of RAM and 4GB of internal flash storage.

In a recent interview with the IDG News Service, former OLPC Chief Technology Officer Mary Lou Jepsen said she would bring out a $75 laptop by 2010. Now running her own company, Pixel Qi, she cited the falling prices of RAM and components as a way to bring down laptop prices.

The low-cost laptop industry's poster child is Asustek Computer Inc.'s Eee PC, which was introduced last year and sold 350,000 PCs in its first quarter. The cheapest Eee PC, for $300, has an 800-MHz Intel processor, 512MB of RAM and 2GB of flash storage.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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