Lindows.com launches Linux notebook

The software maker takes on Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba with an inexpensive and lightweight portable PC based on its version of the Linux operating system.

Lindows.com on Thursday unwrapped an inexpensive and lightweight notebook PC based on its version of the Linux operating system.

The San Diego, Calif., software maker's new Lindows Mobile PC will sell for $799. It includes a 12.1-inch screen and a 933MHz Via Technologies C3 processor, along with LindowsOS, a version of the freely available Linux.

Lindows.com, Via and Wal-Mart have given rise to a new class of $200 desktop PCs, which have proved appealing to people looking for second machines or for use in small businesses. Lindows.com is now hoping to capture consumers and PC enthusiasts with the new notebook's relatively low price, its modest weight and the alternative operating system.

The Lindows Mobile PC pairs the 12.1-inch screen and 933MHz processor with 256MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive. Buyers can opt to increase the hard-drive size or memory allotment. The notebook also includes Compact Flash, USB (Universal Serial Bus), Ethernet and Firewire ports. A modem, however, is not included. External CD or DVD drives are optional.

Although it has Linux and light weight on its side, the Lindows.com portable faces competition from more established purveyors of consumer notebooks.

Hewlett-Packard's Compaq Presario 2100Z, for example, sells for $749 after a rebate when purchased direct from the company. It includes an Advanced Micro Devices Athlon XP 1600+ processor and a 14.1-inch display, along with 128MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive.

A number of other Windows-based notebooks from HP and Toshiba sell for similar prices at retail, after rebates and special offers.

But those systems can be notably heavier. HP's Compaq Presario 2100 notebook models, which weigh in at about 6.75 pounds, are more than twice as heavy. Most other notebooks priced at or near $800 weigh about the same, if not more. Windows notebooks weighing around 3 pounds can cost $1,800 or more.

The Lindows Mobile PC will by sold online by Idot.com, starting March 1, and by Gearzoo.com, starting later this month.

Idot also sells a Lindows.com music PC.

Lindows.com did not say whether retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores would offer the notebook.

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