$399, Linux-based Everex laptop due January 25

Following the success of the $199 gPC it introduced in November, Everex has made no secret over the past few weeks that it is cooking up a low-cost laptop based on the same recipe—VIA hardware, a Linux operating system, and a rock-bottom price tag.

Everex has now officially launched the laptop, which it calls CloudBook. The CloudBook is scheduled to become available from Walmart.com on January 25, and it will cost just $399. It will include a 7″ 800 x 480 display, a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV processor, VIA UniChrome integrated graphics, 512MB of DDR2-533 RAM, a 30GB 4200RPM hard drive, 802.11g Wi-Fi, and a five-hour battery. Some luxuries will be in the mix, as well, such as a DVI display output, a 4-in-1 card reader, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. The whole system will measure a slender 9.06″ x 6.73″ x 1.16″ (23 x 17.1 x 2.95 cm) and weigh in at just 2 lbs (0.9 kg).

The CloudBook. Source: Everex.

On the software side of things, the CloudBook will be pre-loaded with the same Linux-based gOS operating system as the gPC. gOS is built on Canonical’s popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, and it features a stripped-down desktop with shortcuts to Mozilla Firefox, Skype, OpenOffice.org, Google web applications, and popular websites.

The CloudBook’s price and form factor will position it right up against Asustek’s $399 Eee PC 4G for what could be an interesting showdown. Compared to the Eee PC, Everex’s new baby will have a roughly similar footprint, a similar display, the same weight, and the same amount of RAM, but 7.5 times as much storage capacity and an extra 1.5 hours of battery life. However, the CloudBook’s VIA processor could be slower than the Eee PC’s Intel chip. The CloudBook’s conventional hard drive could also make it less rugged than the Eee PC, which features a 4GB solid-state drive.

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