The Zonbu Mini is about to get a portable friend. Zonbu has just revealed its Everex-built Zonbu Notebook, which will be hitting the market in Q1 2008. The $279 upfront pricetag is quite a bit heftier than the $99 Mini, but the subscription fee remains the same at $14.95. Specs are quite the improvement on the Mini, with a 1.5GHz VIA C7-M processor, 60GB HDD, DVD-RW / CD-RW drive, VIA Chrome9 HC integrated graphics, WiFi and a 15.4-inch 1440 x 900 display. Zonbu claims up to three hours of battery, and of course all those "hassle-free" promises and managed Linux software of the original. In a world of $399 Eee PCs and cheaper Black Friday bargains, a $279 laptop with a hefty subscription fee might not seem like such a steal, but it's not hard to see the appeal for a first-time PC buyer, and it certainly bests the Mini. The best news is that if you're willing to put up with some beta software, Zonbu is selling the Notebook as of today for those risk-taking luddites out there.

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Zonbu's prepping subscription laptops for 2008