Shuttle is launching a $99 PC that, it says, is "a first for any computer at this price point". The Shuttle KPC goes onsale in the US today having been shown off at last month's Consumer Electronics Trade Show in Las Vegas.

Shuttle's announcement of the $99 KPC comes soon after computer manufacturer Elonex announced the imminent arrival of the £99 Elonex ONE laptop. While Shuttle's KPC will be available for $99 in the US as a barebones system, it will be sold as a complete PC unit to consumers for $199.

A low price tag is the current must have specification of PCs and laptops. Last year saw the launch of the $100 OLPC laptop, prompting a trickle of other low-cost systems to be developed that dumped cutting-edge components and huge-capacity hard drives in favour of affordability for all.

Elonex's £99 ONE laptop debuts next week at the The Education Show in Birmingham and has been developed in tandem with the government, which agreed to waive VAT on sales of the model which is being touted as an essential education rather rather than a luxury item.

Yet another contender, Pizel Qi, is looking to create a $75 laptop.

Shuttle has issued few details about its $199 KPC package. However, we can tell you that it measures 11x7.5 x6.7in and, in common with the mini PC maker's other offerings is a cubed-shaped model. The Shuttle KPC features an Intel Celeron 420 processor, 80GB of hard drive space and 512MB of memory, although customers can optionally expand this to 2GB and the hard drive capacity to 1.5TB (terabytes) across two hard disks.

According to Shuttle, the KPC is smaller than its “toaster-sized XPC” and has a customisable fascia. The KPC runs on Linux but it is possible to run the Vista or XP operating systems. Users will also benefit from an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 and 5.1 channels of high definition quality sound.

The KPC will also be available as a barebones system for just $99, for those that want to spec out the machine themselves.