Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Intel steps up cheap laptop race

Intel has teamed up with the world's largest maker of computer motherboards to produce laptops for the developing world.

The laptop has been dubbed the Eee PC - and will sit alongside Intel's Classmate which is also aimed at the developing world.

The partnership with Asustek is the latest twist in a developing battle between the chipmaker and rival group, the One Laptop per Child foundation.

Both plan to offer sub-$200 laptops.

War of words

The Eee laptop will use one of Intel's mobile processors - although exactly which one has not been specified. It will have a seven inch (18cm) display, weigh in at 2lb (0.89kg), with a flash memory hard drive and wireless capacity.

The laptop will sell for around $200 (£100).

Both this and Intel's forthcoming mass produced Classmate will be in direct competition with One Laptop Per Child 's (OLPC) robust green and white machine, which although known as the $100 laptop will initially sell for $176 (£88).

The race to provide cheap laptops to the developing world has turned into a bitter war of words in recent days. Web pioneer Nicholas Negroponte, who heads up the OLPC foundation, has accused Intel of trying to undermine his initiative.

Professor Negroponte, who also founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's famous Media Labs, believes that the decision of his not-for-profit organisation to use processors designed by Intel's main competitor AMD lies at the heart of the conflict.

Intel denies that its efforts undermine the work of the OLPC team.

"We are going to need hundreds of millions of machines and that's going to take a whole industry to provide. There is plenty of room for numerous vendors, " said George Alfs, a spokesman for Intel.

Intel Laptop News by BBC News

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