Elonex to launch £99 Linux laptop

UPDATE: According to The Inquirer the processor at the heart of the Elonex One is a rather mysterious-sounding LNX Code 8 Mobile Processor that runs at a rather lowly 300MHz. There's still no concrete details on who is making it for Elonex though. The Inquirer also reveals that the One comes with 1GB of Flash memory and 128MB of DDR-II memory. Internet access comes via a Lan/WLAN 10/100M Ethernet with WLAN 802.11g antenna.

British company Elonex is preparing to launch a revolutionary £99 educational laptop at the Education Show 2008 at the Birmingham NEC later this month.

Called ‘the One’, the new notebook is aimed primarily at schoolchildren and features a stripped down yet fully-functioning range of Open Source software that includes word processing, spreadsheet, email and an internet browser. Out of the classroom, the One can also be used to play MP3s and games with.

The One boasts Wi-Fi access as well, with 1GB of built-in memory and a USB port for attaching additional memory bands to. For an additional £20 the One can be purchased with 2GB of memory and Bluetooth.

The notebook employs a rubberised keyboard and a seven-inch screen that can be detached from the keyboard. Although there’s no touch-screen functionality, the screen can be used as a tablet with the aid of a track-pad located on the back of the screen.

Cutting costs

Helping to cut costs down to the sub-£100 price point there’s no optical drive and neither is their any firewall or anti-virus software. Unlike its main rival, the £220 eSys Eee PC 4G, there’s no built-in webcam either. Still, for a hundred quid, it’s pretty impressive.

Elonex wouldn’t reveal the name of the processor at the heart of the One when we called to ask; this information is being embargoed until its launch. Suffice to say that it’s unlikely to be a Dual 2 Core – we’d expect something more akin to a Celeron.

In any case, it needs to be remembered that the Elonex One isn’t intended as a business tool or a primary laptop, but as a cost-effective and ready-to-use educational tool for schoolchildren.

To this end Elonex is confident that all of the preinstalled Open Source software supplied with the One is fully compatible with common Windows programs. A spokesman from Elonex told TechRadar that word-processing documents created on the One can be opened in Word and vice versa.

TechRadar will be looking to test an Elonex One as soon as a test model becomes available so watch this space to see how it performs.