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This week in laptops

A roundup of laptop news, in digest form.

Your intrepid editor returns from vacation and resumes her roundup of the week's laptop news.

Voodoo Envy M:152

It was a big week for laptop announcements, fueled by the DigitalLife tech show in New York and the upcoming holiday buying season. (What, you haven't started your holiday shopping yet?)

Sony hit the ground running, pimping the water-resistant keyboard on its Vaio G series laptops and announcing its cheapest Vaio yet, the $750 NR series. We also saw the Vaio brand attached to this slick, holographic laptop concept that's straight out of Minority Report.

Meanwhile Acer announced an update to its 12.1-inch Ferrari 1100 ultraportable. Panasonic added four lightweight models to its notebook line in Japan. Toshiba unleashed a number of new Satellites, including the dual-SLI X205 gaming system. Dell quietly pushed out some marketing about the already-leaked XPS m1730 gaming rig, then finally launched the darn thing at DigitalLife. Other gaming systems announced this week: the 15.4-inch Voodoo Envy M:152 and the Malibal Nine Series, a 17-incher that includes an quad-core processor option. Looks like gamers will be having a very merry Christmas.

Thanks in part to a popular article in The New York Times, the week's big laptop story in the mainstream press was the Give One, Get One program over at the One Laptop Per Child project. Starting November 12, consumers will be able to buy the project's low-cost XO laptop for themselves, provided they also pay to give one to a child in a developing country. Red Hat's Michael Tiemann, part of the CNET Blog Network, posted his impressions on the OLPC program after seeing the XO in use in Brazil. Meanwhile, the BBC riffed on whether the general availability of the XO and other cheap, minimalist portables, combined with robust Web-based software, will eat into sales of traditional notebooks. A writer for Fortune came right out and said thin clients, not the XO, are the future of cheap computing. Then he got back into his time machine and returned to 1996.

At CNET.com this week, we took a look at the 15.4-inch multimedia-heavy Qosmio F45, which just might--maybe--be overkill. We also checked out the CODi Tri-Pack, a sleek laptop backpack that won't make you look like (too much of) a dork.

In other news, the Asus Eee PC is now expected to ship in October; Microsoft, responding to vendor demands, extended the availability of Windows XP; and it turns out that solid-state laptop drives, while good for battery life and boot times, are bad for Hitachi's hard drive business. And finally, CNET.com launched the Fall Preview, a sneak peek at the hottest gadgets to hit stores in the coming months. Be sure to check out our look at the laptop season to come.

Have a great weekend!