This week in laptops

Crave presents the week's laptop news, in digest form.

The Asus Eee PC grabbed plenty of headlines this week, as media outlets (including CNET Reviews) got their hands on the mobile Internet device. Our conclusion: it's the near-perfect choice for a second laptop. Also, CNET News.com's Erica Ogg attended the Eee PC launch event in Palo Alto, Calif., Engadget shared pictures from an Eee PC dissection, and NotebookReview has some ideas on how to hack the little guy. Given the Eee PC's approachable price and Linux OS, we imagine that more tweaks are to come.

Intel Classmate PC
Intel Classmate PC, or lunch box? CNET Networks

We also reviewed a possible competitor to the Asus Eee PC, the Intel Classmate PC, which is designed for use by students in developing countries. We like the rugged construction, but wish the hard drive was larger than 2GB. Apparently the government of Libya liked it enough to buy 150,000 of the machines, which have been in place for about a month. Meanwhile Reuters notes that the other cheap student laptop, the OLPC XO, has been subject to frequent price hikes.

In other cheap laptop news, Wal-Mart is getting the jump on Black Friday this year by throwing out deals today, including an Acer laptop for $348 . CompUSA responded by offering the Acer Aspire AS3690-2970 for $299 (it is already sold out online but may still be available in stores). Don't get too excited, though--they both run on super-budget Celeron processors. Everex, meanwhile, is reportedly cooking up a line of sub-$300 laptops to debut next year. Like the Green gPC desktop announced this week, the laptops will be based on a customized Linux OS designed primarily for running Web 2.0 applications.

Other product news this week includes a spec update to MacBook and MacBook Pro (but not the major changes predicted by rumor sites just a few weeks ago) and the super-secret retail-only Lenovo 3000 Y410 . From overseas, we got glimpses of two flavors of NEC's LaVie G laptop: a black-hearted Hello Kitty model as well as a groovily striped version.

Other tidbits worth reading this week: Apple released a patch to improve graphics stability on Macbook Pro; CNET.com's Elsa Wenzel gives you the CliffsNotes version of the new features in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard; Intel is reportedly ramping up production on notebook processors to alleviate a shortage brought on by high demand; notebooks are presenting a business challenge to white-box PC manufacturers; and CNET highlights locations around the worldwhere innovation and technology stand to flourish in the 21st century.

Have a great weekend!

About the author

    Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.

     

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