Everex has started shipping its Cloudbook ultraportable PC and will follow up with future models that support touchscreen applications.

Priced at $399 (£200), the Cloudbook is designed to compete with inexpensive ultraportable computers such as Asustek's Eee PC. The Cloudbook runs a version of the Linux OS, includes a 7in screen and weighs 220g.

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The company has already shipped 20,000 of the laptops to US retailers including Wal-Mart, Newegg and TigerDirect, said Paul Kim, director of marketing at Everex. Wal-Mart will start selling the product on its website on Thursday, he said.

On Friday, ZaReason, which distributes Everex products, said on its website that the Cloudbook had sold out. Everex had shipped a few hundred Cloudbooks to ZaReason, Kim said. As of Friday, the laptop was not yet available on TigerDirect or Newegg.

The Cloudbook was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show last month in Las Vegas. It was originally due to ship in January, but last-minute tweaks to the Gnome interface software caused the delay, Kim said.

The computer is powered by a 1.2GHz Via Technologies C7-M processor and runs on the gOS, a flavour of Linux based on Ubuntu. It includes a 30GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, wired and wireless networking, a digital video interface (DVI) port, a four-in-one media card reader and a lithium-ion battery.

The company is also developing a Cloudbook with a touchscreen interface that it plans to make available worldwide by the end of the year, priced at around $499 (£250), Kim said. It hopes to enlist the open-source community to help it create touchscreen applications for that product. It said it plans to put about 2,000 of the touchscreen Cloudbooks on sale to developers at the end of March for this purpose.

Everex may also incorporate solid-state drives in future Cloudbooks as the price of flash storage drops, he said.

The Cloudbook will compete with Asustek's low-cost Eee PC, which has sold around 350,000 units to date since its launch late last year. Acer and MSI are expected to launch low-cost PCs later this year.

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