Microsoft wants much cheaper laptops

Microsoft is teaming up with the GSM association to promote 3G connectivity in entry-level laptops through a contest.

Companies will be asked to design mainstream laptops costing as little as GBP 250 with embedded HSPDA technology rather than having a separate external card to fit in the laptop.

Wi-Fi is currently the preferred and more popular way of wirelessly browsing the internet but Wi-Fi has a fatal flaw, it can only be used over short distances.

PC Advisor says that six notebook makers have expressed their interest in the project. These include Dell, Lenovo, Fujitsu-Siemens, Asustek Computer, Twinhead and Vestel Elektronics.

Notably absent from the lot are HP, Acer and Toshiba; three of the world's biggest laptop manufacturers.

Asus stands a good chance at winning the contest because they have acquired a wealth of experience through their Asus EEE laptop project.

Research analyst, Pyramid Research, revealed that nearly 80 million broadband enabled laptops could be sold in 2008 if mobile broadband were added.

It is unknown whether the quoted price includes Microsoft's Operating System and whether Microsoft plans to use a cut-down, lighter version of Windows Vista to power the cheaper laptops