The War Of Laptops With Dongles Heats Up As Providers Square Off With Retailers

Carphone Warehouse has just released another laptop plus wireless broadband bundle in the heated battle for marketshare; this time, it is Elonex's Webbook that is being flogged to potential buyers, an altogether very capable ultra cheap, ultra portable laptop that costs £264 on its won.

It comes with a VIA processor, 512MB memory, Windows XP and a 80GB hard disk drive. More importantly, its tiny 10.2-inch screen makes it ideal as a desktop or mainstream laptop replacement.

CPW is offering it for free when purchased with a two-year mobile broadband contract from Orange with a 3GB download limit for a total cost of £600.

Things are bound to become more complex as operators could find themselves competing with distributors and retailers. Orange, Vodafone and Three are preparing for an onslaught of cheap laptops with wireless broadband connectivity as early as next month.

Orange will provide with the HP 6730s and the popular Asus EEE micro laptop while Three has opted for three HP laptops and CPW chose Acer, Fujitsu Siemens and Toshiba as its main laptop providers.

Phones4U, Carphone Warehouse and Tesco are amongst those who will vie for a piece of the pie.

More than 1.5 million broadband dongles are expected to be sold if the rates at which they are sold are sustained.