Intel is launching its Classmate PC - a competitor to Asus' Eee PC - in Europe and the US. The second generation of the low-cost laptop, which was originally targeted at children in developing nations, will be priced between $250 (£125) and $350 (£175).

Although no details of the specification for the Classmate 2 have been released, Intel is expected to use its upcoming Atom processor. The low-cost laptop, originally made available only to students in emerging economies, features a low-power version of Intel's Celeron M processor and a 7in screen. Intel sees the Classmate PC as just one of a range of low-cost laptops now being developed that the chip maker calls 'netbooks'.

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Intel Atom laptops will cost between £125 and £150

The second version of the Classmate PC will be available to PC vendors in a range of configurations, but will retain the same basic design when sold by different vendors, Rampone said. In addition to versions for consumers, running either Linux or Windows, the laptop will be available in configurations complete with educational software aimed at schools in developed countries, he said.

"During the last quarter, we have seen tremendous interest in the Classmate PC from customers outside education," said Tom Rampone, an Intel vice president and general manager of the company's Channel Platforms Group.

The move to expand the availability of Classmate PC to PC vendors in developed markets follows a push to make the product more widely available to consumers in emerging economies. For example, HCL Infosystems of India announced a laptop, called MiLeap X, earlier this year that is based on the Classmate PC design but marketed as a low-cost computer for consumers and businessmen instead of students.

Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group told Reuters he expected the second generation Classmate to be more attractive to consumers put off by an unfamiliar operating system.

"Low-cost products are going to move well, but the key is for them to be quality." he said.

Intel also claims work has already begun on developing a third generation model.

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