News Bits: CompUSA to Sell $299 Laptop, Western Digital 320GB HD, Intel Component Shortages

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Libya buys 150,000 Intel Classmate PCs

Libya’s education ministry placed an order in August for 150,000 Intel Classmate PCs. Intel and Microsoft were reportedly not subsidizing the price of the laptops but there was no mention of exactly how much was paid for the machines.

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CompUSA Selling $299 notebook this weekend

It seems like $300 is the new bottom of the barrel price for laptop deals this year. CompUSA will be offering an Acer 15.4" screen Celeron based laptop for $299 starting on November 2nd. The specs include a measly 512MB of RAM, Vista Home Basic, 80GB hard drive and Celeron M 520 1.6GHz processor.

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You can see the full 2-day blowout ad at by clicking here.

Western Digital introduces 320GB notebook hard drive

Western Digital today introdued its latest 2.5-inch notebook hard drive, the 320GB Scorpio 320. It has an 8MB cache, 5,400RPM rotational speed, and 3.0Gbps SATA connection. Power consumption is kept down by Western Digital’s Intelliseek technology, which slows down the drive if data throughput is not reduced.

The drive is available now directly from Western Digital for $200 and will soon appar at retailers.

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LED backlight penetration to surpass 10% in ’08

According to AU Optronics (AUO) senior vice president David Su, the penetration rate of LED backlighting panels in the notebook market will surpass 10% in 2008. As soon as LED backlighting becomes mainstream in the smaller LCD market, it will move to larger size applications. Current supply is tight for LED-based backlighting units because of high demand from panel makers such as Samsung.

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Notebook component shortage may arrive Q2 ’08

According to a DigiTimes report, the notebook industry could see a component shortage in Q2 2008 if upstream suppliers do not expand their facilities in time. Shipments of notebooks are expected to reach 25.98 million units by Q2 2008. Notebook component suppliers are not moving quickly enough to meeting the strong demand.

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$100 OLPC XO laptop is almost $200, Uruguay places order

The OLPC XO laptop is now costing an average of $188 to build. The costs can vary according to material prices, especially nickel. Originally the laptop was envisioned to cost $100 apiece.

In more positive light, OLPC  received an order from Uruguay for 100,000 laptops. The country will give them to children between 6 and 12 years old. The country has the option to buy another 300,000 laptops by 2009, meaning every child in the country would have one of the XO laptops.

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Intel notebook CPUs are in short supply

Increased notebook shipments in 2H 2007 have caused numerous notebook component shortages, namely Intel CPUs and WLAN modules. The gap between Intel’s production capacity and the market demand is growing; Intel said it will adjust its production capacity to fix the shortage problems. The firm expects the problems to be solved by the end of the year.

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