This week in laptops

Laptop news for the week of March 17.

Small fish
The field of small fries is starting to look a little crowded...

Small fries everywhere! A bunch of this week's news focused on tiny laptops of the Eee PC variety: the Intel Classmate PC will reportedly hit U.S. and European retailers ; photos of a possible "netbook" surfaced on Flickr; and we saw an Eee PC competitor for the Taiwanese market (release date unknown). Meanwhile, the tiny tablet-smartphone hybrid, the HTC Shift, became available for pre-order on Amazon ; we have one in hand and posted a full review today.

Phew! There's no indication of a slowdown, either, if reports of ultra-low-priced Intel Atom CPUs for netbooks are accurate. Bring on the smallies!

In other news, Dell was all over the product rumors, with reports that the follow-up to the Latitude XT tablet is on its way, plus more leaked details on its rumored business-focused Latitude E Series. In actual product news, Asus announced a 15-inch multimedia laptop , while apparently a 13.3-inch HP Pavilion dv3000 will hit Asia in May.

The continuous forward march of solid-state drives hit a speed bump this week, with an analyst making headlines by declaring that many flash-based drives are being returned for poor performance and outright failure . Dell, the company implicated in the analyst's report, quickly denied that it was seeing high failure rates. Toshiba, unphased, announced a notebook with a 128GB solid-state drive for the Japanese market.

We were feeling nostalgic at Crave this week; how else to explain our two backward-looking posts? First, Brooke Crothers takes a look at super-slender laptops (aka MacBook Air rivals) past and present. And Emily Shurr takes us on a photographic tour of the earliest portable computers . Enjoy!

Finally, our own Matt Elliott rounds up some of our favorite 17-inch laptops ; be sure to let us know your favorites in comments on his post.

Have a great weekend!

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