A new laptop aims to make it easier for anyone to get online, surf the net, send emails and keep in touch with friends and family.

The Linux based 15.4-inch Alex laptop comes with a suite of programs for everyday tasks including office and image editing tools.

The company behind the laptop, Broadband Computer Company, charges users a monthly fee of £39.95 for two years, which includes telephone support, software updates and broadband access. Broadband is supplied by Southampton-based ISP Murphx.

The Alex package is also available via an upfront laptop charge of £ 399.52 plus a £9.99 monthly subscription for those with broadband.

The Clevo M760T laptop running the Linux Ubuntu variant, comes with USB password protected latchkey. Computer accessories, including a printer are also offered, while a suite of applications are reportedly in the works for those who want to add more features and functions to their computer.

"People who love Linux will be keen to develop for this," Andy Hudson, one of the founders of the company told the BBC. The full laptop specs can be found here.

The BBC's own technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones also believes the Alex may help bring Linux to a wider group of users. " If this ambitious plan succeeds it could play an important role in bringing Linux-based operating systems to a much wider public," Cellan-Jones said in a blog post.

The Alex laptop was originally based on the Microsoft Windows operating system but the company soon realised this option was flawed.

"The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software - the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux," the company's Chief Technology Officer Barney Morrison-Lyons told the BBC's Cellan-Jones.

In November 2009, ex-Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton helped launched a new computer range specifically designed for older users and technophobes.

The SimplicITy computer runs the Linux Mint operating system and comes in two desktop versions. A laptop version will also shortly be available.

The team behind the SimplicITy computer point out Linux Mint is completely free, as are all the applications, as well as all updates and upgrades to future versions.