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This week in laptops

Will the domination of the Eee PC and other tiny laptops ever end?

Magic 8 Ball

As this week drew to a close I whipped out my trusty Magic 8 Ball and asked it: "Will there ever be an end to the little-laptop news?" And the Magic 8 Ball replied: "My sources say no."

Those are some reliable sources, because the tiny laptops just kept coming this week. For example, we learned the OLPC XO laptop may switch from Linux to Windows XP. The Asus Eee PC 900, the 9-inch version of everyone's favorite super cheap portable, got an official launch date (May 12) and an official price ($549). Little-known U.S. manufacturer 3K Computers launchedthe 7-inch Longitude 400. And PC World learned that this June's Computex trade show in Taipei will reportedly see the debut of another version of the Asus Eee PC and a new ultralight laptop from Acer, both running on Intel's Atom platform.

If you're overwhelmed by all the low-cost laptop options, Engadget points to a comprehensive list of low-cost laptops, assembled by Liliputing.

However, the week didn't belong completely to the little guys: Toshiba released five new Satellite Pros; Averatec announced two semirugged systems, the Voya 4473 and Voya 6494; Acer debuted the Aspire 5920 laptop with WiMax support; and reports circulated with more details about the official release of Asus' bamboo computers.

In reviews, we mostly dug the 13.3-inch Toshiba Satellite U405 and got a kick out of the 12.1-inch Asus Lamborghini VX3. We also thought the Gateway P-172X FX would make a good choice for gamers who fall just short of hardcore.

Finally, we honored Earth Day by measuring the power consumption of a number of desktops and laptops. The conclusion? Leaving your gaming system running idle at all hours could be costing you almost $200 per year. So shut down that computer before you head out to play this weekend, mmmkay?