Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has revealed plans to launch a low-cost laptop to compete against Asustek's Eee PC, but which uses 3G networks to keep users connected wirelessly.

Elitegroup plans to allow users to choose from several versions of the Simply Smart ECS G10IL laptop family. The top-end model comes with a 10.2in screen and takes advantage of tri-band mobile phone networks to keep users connected to the internet wirelessly with HSDPA and HSUPA (High Speed Downlink/Uplink Packet Access). The technology ensures users can tap into mobile broadband from just about anywhere mobile phone coverage is offered.

The G10IL also connects to Wi-Fi networks, carries a 56kbps analogue modem on board for wired internet connections, supports Bluetooth wireless and comes with a four-in-one card reader.

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The laptop family in general will run on Intel's Atom microprocessor paired with an Intel 945 GSE chipset. Users will have a choice of machines running Microsoft Windows XP or a Linux OS, as well as a smaller screen size of 8.2in. The laptops can take up to 2GB of DRAM, but the company does not specify how much will come with each model. Hard disk drives and solid state drives will both be offered for storage, and batteries with either four-cells or six-cells.

Pricing will depend on the configuration of the laptop, and has not been set yet.

The company could not be reached immediately for comment on when the laptops might be for sale.

Asustek started the trend toward low-cost laptops by launching its Eee PC to great fanfare and projecting sales of as many as 5 million units this year.