It looks like the mystery laptop based on an Intel design has finally received an official coming out party. Malaysia's FTEC will manufacture the device, targeted at kids. The Malaysian version of the computer will be called the SmartBook, but it's fare to call it a Netbook as well, since that's what Intel is calling the whole line of cheap, super-portable laptops. Odds are we'll start to see other companies release their own versions of the Netbook under other names. It's always been clear that Intel wouldn't be manufacturing the computers on its own.

The SmartBook will come in two varieties. Both will have an Celeron processor, 512MB RAM, 802.11b/g WiFI, water resistant keyboards, and run Linux. One version will cost about $377, while the other will run about $409. The cheaper version will include a 7-inch display and a 40GB hard drive. Customers can install Windows XP for $31. The pricier model will have a 9-inch display and 2G of solid state flash memory instead of a hard drive.

The success of the Eee PC has shown that you don't need 40G+ to make a portable device useful. But if you're going to sell the Netbook at near-Eee PC prices, you should really cram a bit more than 2GB in there. I'm not asking for much. 4GB would do.


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