Call it the Netbook halo effect: A quick peek at the lineups of new laptops slated for an Oct. 22 rollout from Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba make it clear that the prices of mainstream and higher-end laptops are diving, even as the technology gets better, CNET reports. "There’s a new reality in laptop pricing," said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at market researcher IDC. "It’s getting harder and harder to sell anything over $800." On Oct. 22, HP will begin selling the 13-inch ProBook 5310m, weighing less than four pounds and clad in an aluminum display enclosure and a magnesium alloy bottom case, for $699 with an Intel Celeron dual-core processor and $899 with Intel Core 2 Duo chip. Both come with the Windows 7 operating system. Then there’s the 4-pound HP Pavilion dm3 notebook, which starts at $549. The 13-inch laptop comes with power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Neo dual-core processors and a standard 6-cell battery that delivers–so HP claims–up to 10 hours of battery life…

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