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New models from Asia and the best student laptops: The week in laptops

New laptops from Asia, Mac tablet rumors, and the best of the back-to-school laptops. Also, what's that smell? It's the week in laptops!

Samsung X360

Given the Democratic and Republican conventions and the Labor Day holiday stealing everyone's attention, I expected this week to be a quiet one when it came to product announcements. But those distractions really only apply to folks in the States, and overseas manufacturers pushed out plenty of new laptop models to keep us busy.

Samsung threw down a challenge to the MacBook Air by announcing the 13-inch, 2.8-pound Samsung X360. MSI came out with three new laptop models, the 14-inch VR440 and GX400, and the 17-inch GX720. Asus announced the G50V and G71V, gaming systems built on Core 2 Extreme processors and Nvidia GeForce 9700M GT graphics. And Fujitsu promised a 2.2-pound M1010 Netbook with an 8.9-inch wide-screen display, though it might be available only in the Asia Pacific region.

This week also saw rumors of two laptops in a new Dell Studio XPS line, and an Apple patent filing reignited rumors of a Mac tablet. Also, several sites pointed to an upscale Netbook from Asus that would ditch the Eee PC name, but there's no final word on pricing, specs, or availability.

At CNET HQ this week, we celebrated the best of the back-to-school laptops and took a closer look at Dell's new Latitude design. We got the skinny on an open-source approach to tracking stolen laptops, some low-cost Dell Vostros designed for emerging markets, and how the Intel Classmate PC is being used in one Brazilian school.

In Reviews, we saw two laptops from Fujitsu: the LifeBook A6210 and the LifeBook T1010 tablet. We also looked at the Dell XPS M1330-126B and the Logitech V550 Nano notebook mouse.

Also worth reading over the long weekend: Intel has acquired a London-based company and tasked it with developing a Linux software stack for Intel's Atom processors; Iogear has two new laptop accessories out: a laptop KVM switch that lets you transfer files between computers and a Wireless USB to VGA Kit for streaming PC content to an alternate display; and PC Magazine's Lance Ulanoff wishes manufacturers would stop the trend toward 16:9 laptop screens.

Finally, if you're wondering what that smell is, it's my new Asus laptop.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!