Everex to make CloudBook UMPC with 9-in. LCD

More big doings on the tiny laptop front as competition with Eee heats up

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Now that TigerDirect's parent, Systemax Inc., owns the assets of the bankrupt CompUSA, could we see the CloudBook in re-opened CompUSA stores? "We've talked about it. We're not 100% sure yet," he said.

A tiny market, too?

While the Eee and the CloudBook have both generated excitement among techies, it's doubtful that they will attract many mainstream consumers, according to Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Group Inc., especially compared to Apple Inc.'s new MacBook Air subnotebook, which starting at $1,799, costs four and a half times as much as the Eee or CloudBook but offers a 13.3-in. screen and an ultrathin design.

"Even if [the Eee or CloudBook] go to the 9-in. screen, they're probably still going to be handicapped by Linux, which is not something you should give to a mainstream consumer," he said. And bigger screens means higher prices, and at $500, "I can get a pretty decent notebook with a 15-in. screen that will do anything that I want it to do. ... The Eee and CloudBook are destined to be niche-y products."

But Kim is counting on households used to forking out more than $399 for big screen TVs, camcorders, even iPhones, to snap up a CloudBook as a third or fourth computer for use on the go.

"Honestly, some people will find the CloudBook a little too small," he said. "But we're not trying to be all things to all people."

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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