While the machines are intended for children, analysts believe the launch will add momentum to the low-cost computing movement -- and will likely mean this year's bargain-basement laptops will have more power than in previous years.
Asus has also introduced the $399 Eee PC, which has flown off store shelves from Asia to North America.
The machine was pinitially planned to run on the Linux operating system, but earlier this month Asus said that the there will be soon be released with Microsoft's Windows XP.
Intel said manufacturers in India, Mexico and Indonesia already have begun selling Classmate PC laptops on the retail market.
To date, Intel has sold fewer than 100,000 of the Classmate PCs, but plans to ramp up production in 2008.
Intel has already begun work on a third model, the Classmate 3.