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3K Computers, a build-to-order computer maker that sells to distributors and value-added resellers, introduced on Thursday a $299 mini-notebook with a 7-inch display.
The 3K RazorBook 400 weighs less than two pounds and includes a 4 GB flash drive for storage and 512 MB of memory. The device comes with the Linux operating system and is powered by an Ingenic 400 MHz 32-bit single-core mobile processor. The notebook's 7-inch screen has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels.
The RazorBook is built for people in need of an ultra-portable notebook for accessing the Web on the road. The machine boots in 15 seconds and has built-in Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g. The computer comes with the open source Linux Office Suite, an integrated sound card, stereo speakers, three USB 2.0 ports, and a one-year warranty.
3K sells exclusively to distributors and value-added resellers.
3K competitor Asus proved there was a market for sub-$500 mini-notebooks with the launch of the Eee PC in October 2007. Since then, the Taiwanese company has sold more than 350,000 units and expects to sell between 3 million and 5 million by the end of the year. The device, which is popular among computer enthusiasts, has a 7-inch display.
Other competitors include Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which is preparing to enter the market soon.
The low-cost notebooks are expected to eventually find their place in the mainstream PC market as an inexpensive option for students and as a second computer for accessing the Web on the road at Wi-Fi hotspots, according to IDC. Worldwide shipments are forecast to grow from less than 500,000 units last year to more than 9 million in 2012.