£99 netbooks in Next and M&S in February

Elonex netbooks set to go on sale next month for £99 in Next and M&S
Elonex netbooks set to go on sale next month for £99 in Next and M&S

Cheap-as-chips Asus Eee PCs are set to go on sale in Marks & Spencer and Next for as low as £99, according to the latest reports out of CES in Las Vegas.

British manufacturer Elonex also plans to sell its netbooks in the two high street stores as of next month, no doubt hoping that its cheap, mini 'handbag size' computers will appeal to female fashionistas.

TechRadar's team on the ground at CES in Las Vegas will be bringing you all the latest news, previews and hands-ons with the latest in netbook tech from the likes of Sony, Asus, MSI, Acer, Intel and others.

Unplugged market gap

Nick Smith, the chief executive of Elonex, told the Telegraph that he feels there is a gap in the lower-end of the market waiting to be exploited.

"This year all the big boys are clambering to get into this market, and undoubtedly it will flourish in the downturn, with people on a budget," said Smith.

"But they have lost sight of why people want one of these things. Why spend £300 on a netbook, when for £350 you could get a full-blown laptop with a 15 inch screen? Our netbooks are for people who want a better blackberry, with a proper screen and keypad."

Are netbooks sustainable?

"Wherever you are you have full access to anything on your home computer, but if you lose it on a train or bar, you have only lost £100 worth of kit, not all your valuable photos or documents," added Smith.

Ken Dulaney, analyst at Gartner, added: "The price of consumer electronics is going to be so important this year. But if Lenovo or Dell start selling decent laptops, with 13 inch screens for just $400 (£245) will netbooks be sustainable? Only if they are ultra cheap, I think."

For more on the Elonex webbook, check the company's website.

Adam Hartley