The world's (new) cheapest laptop (for today)
Following fast on the heels of the CherryPal low-cost computer is the Impulse, advertised at $130 for each laptop (but you have to buy 100 at a time). It has, frankly, unexciting specs and wifi is an optional dongle (ew). Network World has more details on the Inspire, but more importantly, the blossoming 4PC market:
The laptop hints towards a trend of lowering PC prices. Last week, a company called CherryPal introduced a $249 mini-desktop, also running a 400MHz processor, with 256M bytes of RAM and 4G bytes of internal flash storage.
Now, of the current contenders in the sub-$500 laptop market, Asus' Eee still seems to be the clear winner in the open market. The OLPC XO-1 was way out in front, and (I posit) still maintains an advantage thanks to some of their tech (screen, wifi, battery life, ruggedness).
However, it's just a matter of time before one manufacturer decides to not be braindead and balance the price, power, performance and portability all together, and basically win the market. This of course seriously endangers the One Laptop Per Child project, if other, more logistically adept companies produce a system comparable in utility to the XO (especially if the XO sheds all of its value-adds in its move from Sugar to Windows XP).
Of course, it's possible that the best thing to fulfill OLPC's goal is for this exact thing to happen.