AT&T announced a type of compact PC called a netbook for just $50 for customers in Atlanta on Wednesday.
The era of a perfect Internet computer for $99 is coming this year,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, the chief executive of Nvidia, a maker of PC graphics chips.
Mostly netbooks sold today run on an Intel chip, Atom, which is a lower-cost, lower-power version of the company’s standard laptop chips. And about 80 percent of netbooks run Windows XP, the older version of Microsoft’s flagship software.
The new breed of netbooks, built on cellphone innards, threatens to disrupt that oligopoly.
Netbook makers have turned to Linux, an open-source operating system that costs $3 instead of the $25 that Microsoft typically charges for Windows XP. They are also exploring the possibility of using the Android operating system from Google, originally designed for cellphones.