MSI's Atom-based Laptop to Debut in US This June at $549

Micro-Star International (MSI) plans to launch Wind, an ultra-low cost laptop that runs on Intel's Atom microprocessor, this June in the U.S., the company confirmed Friday.

The U.S. edition of Wind will come in two different versions, one for US$549 running Microsoft's Windows XP. A few things set Wind apart from competitors, including the 1.6GHz Atom microprocessor, larger screen size and a six-cell battery that gives it around six hours of power. Wind also carries an 80G-byte hard disk drive (HDD) instead of a flash memory-based Solid State Drive (SSD).

The latest version of the popular Eee PC by Asustek, a rival to Wind, comes with an 8.9-inch screen and up to 20G-byte of storage space.

The other version of Wind will use Novell's SUSE Linux OS and cost $399. The Linux device shares the same screen size, HDD and microprocessor as the XP device. But it carries a three-cell battery that allows only around 2.5 hours of power and does not offer wireless data transfer using Bluetooth, which the XP device does. The Linux version also comes with less DRAM (dynamic RAM), 512M-bytes versus 1G-byte for the XP laptop.

Both Wind laptops come in a variety of colors, including black, white and pink, can access the Internet via Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, sport 1.3-megapixel Webcams and three USB (universal serial bus) ports.

There will also be several hardware configurations users can choose from that can make the laptop more or less expensive. For example, Wind can carry up to a 320G-byte HDD, which would cost more.

MSI will market smaller version of Wind with an 8.9-inch screen elsewhere in the world, but not in the U.S., at least not initially.

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