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AMD Hardware

AMD's Personal Internet Communicator 305

mstefanus writes "SFGate.com has a story about AMD's 50x15 Personal Internet Communicator (PIC). It is basically a PC with an AMD Geode GX500 366MHz processor, 10GB hard drive and 128MB Memory; running some form of Windows CE. The device is intended as a cheap internet PC for the rest of the world population. AMDBoard has some pictures and specifications. The question is, will it run emm... FreeBSD?"
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AMD's Personal Internet Communicator

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  • A modest proposal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erick99 ( 743982 ) <homerun@gmail.com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:37PM (#10603726)
    I wonder if for $349, a hundred dollars more, they could produce a similar package for here in the US with a nic instead of a modem along with some sort of optical drive. I think they would sell like crazy. It would come with some newbie-friendly flavor of Linux and the user could always change that if they want, but why add a lot of cost upfront for an operating system. There are a lot of people in the US that will not be able to buy a computer unless they can get the price down to something like $350 or so. If this $249 machine can be profitable, then I think this $349 machine could be profitable as well and we'd be helping people here, as well as abroad. Or, am I just completely missing something?
    • Oh, they could do that for the same that audio modem costs, and libraries would snap them up (not schools, unless they run the Monocul^H^H^H^H^H^Hicrosoft OS.)
      • by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @07:11PM (#10605356)
        This is all well and good but.... It will never fly. Know why? For a decade America has been upgrading. That is, we have all traded in our 486 for a Pentium 65, for a Pentium 166, for a Pentium 2, 3 AMD, Cirix, and on and on. That original 486 running Win 3.1 with a 14.4 or 33.6 modem running Trumpet Winsock (rememebr that?) can get ont he Internet. And where did all that junk go? To the Third World by the dumptruck load!
        A even more modest Pentium 300ish or a AMD K6-2 of about that speed on a socket 7 motherboard with 90-256mb memory a 2-6gb drive a 14" VGA.. load a bootleg 98SE and: you are in business! Cost? no 250 bucks, rather more like 20. Folks in Botswana would rather spend the $230 savings on FOOD! Poor folks do not buy new. Regardless of focus groups, break out sessions, and marketing strategies. I would strongly suggest to the good people who come up with these hair brained ideas to do their research somewhere that does not selll Late`. for example: Check the price at Goodwill.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Doesn't do Thurga a crapload of good that he can buy a broken down 7 year old computer for $20 here in the US, by the time he ships it to Botswana it will cost him $350. Then he needs the mad skillz to get a pirate OS and install it himself. Just so it can fail 3 months later from bouncing around a container ship after churning through a good chunk of the localy available electricity. Excellent plan, matey!

          Now, when the Botswana educational system and the Botswana community center want to provide a way to

          • by BrianH ( 13460 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @08:42PM (#10605972)
            Yes, but you don't even need Internet access to make this thing useful. What use would they have for a computer without Internet? We tend to be spoiled for space in our world of MP3's, video files, and multigigabyte games, but we cannot forget that a gigabyte is a LOT of data. A 20 gigabyte hard drive can hold as much text as an ENTIRE LIBRARY.

            You have to look at these types of products in the context of how their going to be used. Nobody living in a shack in Botswana is going to be surfing EBay on this, and a Ghanian tribesman isn't going to give a flying rock about how it runs Half Life 2. What they're going to care about is the fact that they can add an entire library to their remote village for $249 thats compact enough to be easily moved when the river rises and they have to evacuate on foot every spring, thats integrated and durable enough so that they won't have to worry about shaking the PCI cards loose if they set it down too hard, and that will draw little enough power to run happily on their villages 20 watt in-stream hydro generator or 15 watt solar panel without frying itself.

            The world is a lot bigger than the west people, and this type of hardware is badly needed in many parts of the world. Yes, you can probably piece one together using cheap Internet sourced parts for a lower cost, but will it have the durability, the low power consumption, and the ease of transport that this thing offers? Can you honestly tell me that Bahooba the tribal elder, who has probably never even held a phillips screwdriver in his entire life, would be better off building his own PC? These people need something braindead simple...plug in the wire, turn it on, and use it. When you live in an area where the nearest computer tech is 100 miles away on foot, you don't have the luxury of buying untested hardware configurations and calling for support when you run into a problem.
    • It will cost $185 just for the computer, and $249 for both the computer and a 15-inch monitor.

      Why did I ask?
    • ``why add a lot of cost upfront for an operating system.''

      Because it costs less that way. At least, I don't suppose the $ 300 computers have $ 250 Windows installations.
      • Because it costs less that way. At least, I don't suppose the $ 300 computers have $ 250 Windows installations.

        Strange math there. I agree the $250 computer does not have a $249 Windows CE installation, but it likely has a $15 to $20 installation. Heck, it might even be a $5, but its most most certainly some price p, where p > $0. Thus, we are certain that by utilizing Fedora/FreeBSD/ he unit will cost $p less or there will be $p more profit for the manufacturers.

        Please explain how n-p > n when p

        • by Camulus ( 578128 )
          I know this is most likely bait, but the issue isn't that it would cost the company less. That is easy to figure out. It is that it would cost the consumer more if they wanted to run windows if it wasn't preloaded.
    • An immodest proposal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by shis-ka-bob ( 595298 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:44PM (#10603816)
      I wonder if they could strip it down and get rid of the hard drive and use a bootable Ethernet card. If you are on a lan with a NFS server running dhcpd, rarpd and tftpd, you can have the computer boot as a diskless workstation. Convince your ISP to run these services and privide users with a home directory. That would be a sweet way to provide a zero maintenance PC to anyone. Diskless FreeBSD is discussed at http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/bsd/2004/09/09/diskles s_server.html
    • I wonder if for $349, a hundred dollars more, they could produce a similar package for here in the US with a nic instead of a modem along with some sort of optical drive.

      Yep, you're missing something.

      You can already get AMD powered PCs, with onboard nic AND modem AND video AND so on, in the US for less than $350 and sometimes less than $300...

      Look at Tiger Direct or sales at CompUSA or Best Buy...Or look on PriceWatch...

      Getting cheap PCs in the US is not a problem.
    • I'd certainly consider buying something like that myself, but I would imagine that those who couldn't afford a computer for more than $350 also could not easily afford the broadband access that the inclusion of the NIC would imply. Granted, a NIC would only add a trivial amount to production cost and would increase the capabilities of the device significantly. Back to my initial point, I would imagine that dial-up would be a more affordable option for those who would benefit most from such a device. With th
    • Computers are free [paladin-press.com] once you learn how to do it.
    • Already available? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Stephen Samuel ( 106962 ) <samuel&bcgreen,com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @05:01PM (#10604070) Homepage Journal
      My neighbourhood computer store [microtechpc.ca] sells pretty much such a machine (note that prices are in Canadian Dollars -> ~ $.80US/$1.00CAD). An AMD 2700 with 256MB ram, 40GB drive and CDROM for $289CAD -> $230US.It has an onboard 10/100 ethernet rather than a modem. Add Linux and a used monitor, and you're Rocking.

      I presume that you could find something similar in the US.

    • As for the NIC, you can try getting one of those USB-2-Ethernet dongles and get it on a decent internet connection that way. It'd be a nice box to SSH into whenever I'm bored and not at home.
    • I wonder if for $349, a hundred dollars more, they could produce a similar package for here in the US with a nic instead of a modem along with some sort of optical drive.

      I can buy NIC cards off-the-shelf for $10 and DVD burners for $60. And that's not even bulk pricing.

      There's no reason why they couldn't take your advice and still keep the MSRP under $300.
    • Or, am I just completely missing something

      Walmart.com has XP Home systems starting at $300. All Desktops [walmart.com] The reality is that economies of scale keep OEM Windows systems competitive with Linux even at the lowest price point.

    • I wonder if for $349, a hundred dollars more, they could produce a similar package for here in the US with a nic instead of a modem along with some sort of optical drive.

      From Pricewatch:
      "Complete sys - Intel Celeron 2.0GHz 400FSB Win CD COA 128MB 20GBHD CDROM Video Sound Keyboard mouse USD$151, including shipping.

      Add a monitor (15", $49 including shipping listed at pricewatch, or just look around - people can't give them away, I threw out three working 15-inchers just in the past six months), and you
  • by tha_mink ( 518151 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:37PM (#10603732)
    Didn't the consumer market decide that it didn't want this type of thing before? What was that thing that Be INC made again? (besides failure)
    • This might be acceptable in the target market:
      Initially, the PC will be sold in India, Russia, China, Mexico and Brazil.
      I doubt it would do well in the United States or Western Europe.
    • RTFA. Duh. This machine was designed with the intent of being used in economically disadvantaged areas. Cheap and rugged are what this machine is targeting.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:56PM (#10603997)
      Yes exactly. Back in 98/99, the big hype in embedded computing circles was things called "set-top boxes" (read things like WebTV boxes). Everybody absolutely *had* to get into doing set-top boxes, despite the astoundingly dismal sales volumes. That trend has come and gone thank goodness.

      So, while this thing is technically better (it uses a computer screen, not a TV), it is definitely more expensive (the usually accepted price point for set-top boxes is $100), and it is proven the public doesn't give a flying fuck about them. So the question is, what is it those guys are hoping to achieve here?
      • If they are trying to make an inexpensive computer to sell around the world, what is wrong with the simputer?
      • I agree that the need may have been exagerated, but I think the idea was a little before it's time.

        I personally though it was neat, but couldn't find a use for it. There's a lot of use now though for Tivo's, which even have functionality for browsing photo's on a network now. I've a friend who has an x-box modded to play back home movie avi's, DVD archiving, and MP3's and photos. It's all pretty neat and useful. I've seen that MythTV even has a video-conferencing add-on available now, which is pretty c
    • Be made BeBoxes. I never thought of them as el cheapo small boxxen like this AMD box. They used dual PPC chips in the later versions and dual CPUs from AT&T in the first models. Here's a /. article about Be [slashdot.org].
  • Uhm... A nic card, please? Nobody really uses that dial-up thing anymore do they? :P
  • No, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Scythr0x0rs ( 801943 ) * on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:38PM (#10603735)
    The question is, will it run emm... FreeBSD?
    It'll run FreeBSD. The question is,
    will it run windows?
  • Perfect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:38PM (#10603742) Homepage Journal
    This is a perfect killer-application for Gmail. Now Google should concentrate on persistent documents (a la Office) productivity suit, and no one will ever need a desktop PC with a hard drive. Is this how the future will look like?
    • no one will ever need a desktop PC with a hard drive


      We'll just have dumb terminals. Isn't that how the past looked like?

    • > no one will ever need a desktop PC with a hard drive.

      It has a 10Gb hard drive...

    • Can Hardware be considered a killer application for Sofware? Anywhoo, Network computers have been tried before they've always failed. No reason to believe this will be any different. Besides, this has a 10 gb hard drive. I really wouldn't want to see something like this without a HD or some sort of local storage, and if you ever experienced it, you wouldn't either. It never hurts to try something before declairing it the next big thing.
    • Bollocks! Downloading MP3's, itunes, uploading tunes to ipod, photo editing, video editing, etc etc.

      You cannot make a vanilla system that'll replace the OS. I've seen this post a dozen times, probaly from you a few of those. It's a stupid idea. That'll never happen.

      Ever heard of citrix? You can host out apps using a citrix farm if you like. So this can be done today, with nothing but a standard web browser, yet it isn't widely adopted.
  • Um... No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:39PM (#10603748) Homepage Journal
    Not in my opinion.

    I think that is still too expensive of a computer to get into the hands of those that don't have one. A second hand 1GHz computer would probably be a lot cheaper and more suitable for running modern browsers. At least this is pretty power efficient, but even Via probably has more powerful CPUs that are sufficiently low power.
    • I agree. Their goal is to provide computers that just about anyone will be able to buy, where "just about anyone" includes rural China. $185 is way too much.
    • A 366Mhz Geode is not going to suck anywhere remotely near the power required by (anything else)

      In a LOT of places, solar/wind or bicycle generator power *will* be able to run these.
  • Of course it will run any BSD or Linux. Even ITS [catb.org]. That is, if people port them.

    Personally, I think I the popular FOSS OSes won't have any trouble with this one.
  • excellent! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coneasfast ( 690509 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:41PM (#10603776)
    just what i was looking for. i need something for http/ftp/print/etc server. and also something for a freebsd firewall, a full computer would be too much.

    good job AMD (if it runs FreeBSD)!
    • Re:excellent! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tmasssey ( 546878 )
      Why in the world would you not want to use a Mini ITX [mini-itx.com]? Here [caseoutlet.com] is a 533MHz Eden CPU (no fan), 128MB RAM, 80GB hard drive, CD-ROM drive and a PCI slot for $342 (or less than $300 without the CD-ROM).

      Twice the speed, 8 times the storage, more expandable and cheaper? What's the appeal of the AMD device?

    • maybe netbsd for the pocketPC platform, but not a native x86 OS, sadly.
  • wow, slick case (Score:4, Insightful)

    by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:41PM (#10603779)
    It's incredible that a gadget that is designed to be cheap, utilitarian and mass produced still looks better than any custom riced up case mods I have ever seen before.

    Kinda sad really.

  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:42PM (#10603783) Homepage
    If it's got a 10GB HD, why's it using WinCE? performance on a slow CPU? How have the WinCE apps done security-wise vs. Win32 apps for "regular" Windows?
    • I know that Windows 98 will run fine on that system. Perhaps they were concerned with 98 being EOL'd soon and 2000 and XP were too heavyweight for 366 MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM. That would leave CE as the only real options.

      I really like the size, shape and styling and price of that box. Make a version with a faster VIA Eden processor, bump the RAM to 512 MB, and replace the modem with a NIC, and I would be happy to pay $350 for that machine.
    • WinCE is cheap ($$$) (Score:3, Informative)

      by WoTG ( 610710 )
      I highly doubt that this has anything to do with security. It's all about price, and MS making sure that just in case these little things take off, Linux won't on them.

      The cheapest WinXP for OEM's like Dell is probably ~$50 (hand waving). A friend of mine who develops POS software once mentioned that they were looking at WinCE licenses. They were only a few bucks per device. Yes, OSS would be "cheaper", but WinCE isn't particularly expensive.

      As far as "slow", these newer Geode processors now run on
      • by Anonymous Coward
        > As far as "slow", these newer Geode processors now run on the good ol'Athlon core (I think).

        That is incorrect. It is still the cyrix core.
      • I agree with this, but I doubt it is to keep linux "off" the boxes. Linux can already run on just about anything. The reason I am guessing is to keep "Modern" Windows OS's off the suckers. There is no-way the bloated WinXP could run with a 350Mhz and 128MB RAM. (I imagine Linux +KDE/GNOME would struggle too, but wmaker or xfce would likely be fine).

        By supporting this low end HW MS can effectively be free to sell cheap hardware their without worrying about users stealing their "good stuff" since it obvi
  • Hey bob, renember when I was asking for a low powered handheld computer that I could only use if I plugged in a monitor keyboard and mouse? And you said "thats the stupidest fucking I idea I ever had, if i'm going to take someones copmuter over its much easier to knoppix and thumbdrive it."
    Well you were right bob. And um, i'm sorry.
  • xbox? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duranaki ( 776224 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:43PM (#10603803)
    Seems like you could just hack an xbox to get better performance for cheaper. And already as NIC card and optical drive. Someone just needs to start selling hacked xbox to third world countries. The best part is the M$ subsidizes their cost, so it really would be charity. :)
    • While this is funny, the PIC will actually sell for $185, which is not much more expensive than a chipped XBOXX. The $249 price is for the PIC AND a 15" monitor.
  • Cheaper (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colonel Panic ( 15235 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:44PM (#10603810)
    If they want it even cheaper they should dump Windows in favor of Linux (or as the OP suggested, FreeBSD)...
    It should be more reliable too.
    • Its not all about cheaper. You have to integrate it and make it work.

      I know several companies that have gone with CE instead of Linux because it would have cost far more to get the featureset they wanted in development time AND it would make the release schedule much longer.

      CE is a very small cost compared to time lost in the market and the cost of getting the developers to do what is needed to bring the product up to a certain level.
  • Modem vs. NIC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ping-Wu ( 604476 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:48PM (#10603864)
    It just appears to be that you can easily add an NIC card via its USB port, but not modem. Looks like this is an ingenius, well-thought-of design. I want one if it runs a strip down version of Fedora.
  • by rackhamh ( 217889 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:49PM (#10603873)
    $249 is cheap here, but does it qualify as a "budget" machine in the target markets (India, Russia, China, Mexico and Brazil)? According to this site [brazzil.com], the average income in Brazil's largest metropolitan areas is less than $300 a month!
    • $249 is cheap here, but does it qualify as a "budget" machine in the target markets (India, Russia, China, Mexico and Brazil)? According to this site, the average income in Brazil's largest metropolitan areas is less than $300 a month!

      How is this different than the situation for people in developed nations ten years ago? I remember paying over $3000 CAD for a 486 DX2/66 with a 15" monitor - my first "real" computer - back when the Pentiums were just coming out. At the time that was sure as hell an equa
    • by rewt66 ( 738525 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @05:02PM (#10604081)
      The personal computer revolution in the US had a lot of computers that cost one month's average income (or more), back in the 1980s. We still bought an awful lot of them, and the computer revolution took off here.

      The computer doesn't have to be "budget" in the sense of "find that much money in the couch cushions". But if the average person can manage to get their hands on one if they try reasonably hard, that's a big deal.
    • According to this site, the average income in Brazil's largest metropolitan areas is less than $300 a month!

      I spent nearly a month's net pay on the last home computer I bought myself. Granted, it wasn't a low-cost trailing-edge special, but it wasn't a bleeding-edge riced-out xtreme gaming machine either; just a name-brand home PC model with a more-powerful-than-average configuration.

      Expecting a third-world resident to expend a month's pay on an Internet-ready computer (that would more than likely becom
  • Who ordered this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:49PM (#10603876)
    For $249 it's not partiularly inexpensive, fast or useful. Although it might be had to find parts like a hard drive of only 10 gig any more (at least for any manufacturing project where you want to make a number of the product over a year or more of time and have a viable supply of identical parts for the run), I certainly can put together a more capable PC for $249 with off the shelf parts. I expect third world users who look to spend a month or more of income on a PC are more likely to want to buy as much computer as they can for their money rather than care much that it comes in a small plastic box (and runs slow, has limited storage, and includes an OS that the user paid something for but will have to ditch).
    • a) its 180 without the monitor
      b) its cpu uses 1W. This thing could probably run on battery
      c) its REALLY tine. about 1/5-1/10 (hard to guess correctly) the volume of a mini-itx case.

      Can you do this with off-the-shelf parts, too?

      (btw: before looking at the pics, i thought it sucked, too. But after looking, my first thought was "have to get one to use as router/firewall".)
      • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @05:49PM (#10604565)
        But after looking, my first thought was "have to get one to use as router/firewall"

        No, I can't build it as tiny with off-the-shelf parts. But that's hardly the point, since tiny but crippled just doesn't cut it. As to your thought of getting one to use as a firewall, well, lets just say you might give it a bit more thought. The damn thing has a 56k modem, but apparently no ethernet port. And a decent firewall needs (at least) two ethernet ports; but this thing has no expansion capability. Hope you don't plan on using USB to Ethernet kluges for the connections; they would not only be expensive, but since the spec's only mention USB I'm guessing this is USB 1.1 and not even USB2. So no good for a tiny dedicated device like a firewall, and doesn't compete well with larger computers you can build up from stock parts.

        Sure, there are always a small number of dedicated applications that one can use a slow, low power computer for. But there are many other choices available for such projects. This thing wasn't intended to be that, and doesn't compete well in that market. So let's take it for what it claims to be and evaluate it based on that; a very low end PC replacement with a brain dead OS (that in the end the user pays for). It just doesn't stack up against what else is available.

  • by fbg111 ( 529550 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:50PM (#10603881)
    It's Xbox Next, in disguise.
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:51PM (#10603907)
    Having the system loaded with a version of Windows CE may actually be a good thing. Not better than having a version of embedded linux, but better then XP. So far the only worm/virus/trojan I know of is a proof of concept trojan that was emailed to an AntiVirus vendor for Pocket PC, and it didn't actually do anything.

    With the amount of spyware and other nasties out there preying on naive internet users it would be in everyone's best interest to keep these machines on an embedded platform. First a trojan/virus/worm would need to be created to take advantage of this platform which is new territory to the evil doers. Second, the user base is small and the machines are not very powerful so the advantage to writing a nasty for this platform are small. And third, even if the PC were to be infected it could be cleaned by a simple hard reset. If I ever were to totally hose my Pocket PC (and I'm not sure how I could do that) I could always hard reset the device and copy my data back from CF backup. Sure, you could do the same with linux setup with partition that contains an image that would overwrite the OS upon each boot but this is still a step in the right direction.

    I'm not saying I would want one of these things, unless they scaled them down and sold them cheaper in which case they could make nice low cost cam/file/web/router/vpn/etc/servers, but I think I'll stick with VIA on that for now.

    This would be great for my grandparents, especially if you could remotely administer them.

    Shameless Plug: Williamsburg VA FireFox 1.0 Release Party [openforce.at]
  • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#10603918) Homepage Journal
    I don't think this kyte is going to fly. Here's why:

    $ 185 is a lot of money. It's not worth it for many people. Especially if you can buy a 2200+ powered PC with modem and NIC, a larger hard drive, a standard form factor case and motherboard, etc. etc. for around the same price (I can buy them for 199 euros).

    So, poor people won't spend their money on it, and slightly richer people will get a better deal at a slightly higher price. And you can get a pretty decent PDA for less.
  • Price: 185$ without monitor - 249$ with monitor
    cos if you rip out the cost of the OS and software, then AMD have managed to produce what Ballmers's ranting for... the $100 PC
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:55PM (#10603986) Homepage
    At $185, even I as a student can afford to buy one of these just to play around with it. If AMD is smart, they will get a NIC for one of these and offer people the ability to run Linux on it. Think about that, Linux on one of these would make for a really good small business system. It's small, cheap and runs a free, but adequate OS. At $185 a unit, the thing could be replaced every 6 months by a business if need be.

    But what AMD could really do to kick Microsoft's ass for not supporting the Athlon64 better would be to do three things with this. Offer for $200 a version of this that has: a NIC instead of a modem, a firewire port for an optical media drive and write a special distribution of linux that makes it easy for game designers to turn this into a console system. Imagine John Carmack being able to offer a boot CD with each new copy of Doom 3 that runs on one of these, without having to rewrite any code because the SDK for this box uses all the Linux tools he uses.
  • by ARRRLovin ( 807926 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:56PM (#10604000)
    In future news, Steve Ballmer eats crow after finding out the price of hardware has no effect on the piracy of MS software.
  • 400% increase in multi-cultural trolling
  • TV out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maddh ( 608481 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:58PM (#10604032)
    if they wanted to reach a poorer population they should have a regular TV coax output along side the VGA.
    • Re:TV out (Score:3, Informative)

      by owlstead ( 636356 )
      Currently most software is pixel oriented (thus not really scalable). You would not want to have a crappy screen with that. A tuner module would be nice, but you can get those for USB if the need arises. I got a headache even using my MSX computer of old for too long at the time. A TV screen would mess up productivity suites (office) and internet browsing big time. And wasn't that what the computer was for?
  • There are photos of a much cooler lego-box computer here [mini-itx.com].
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @05:03PM (#10604087) Homepage
    I've always thought that the super-cub of computers is what would sell in the 3rd world.

    However, a couple of limitations I think may hurt this overall:

    A: No ethernet. Ethernet has become this general purpose network glue, and there are a lot of places (eg, the Indian networks being installed) where the village will end up having ethernet locally and then some wireless bridge to the outside world. Ethernet may very well become more preferable to POTS in these installations.

    B: Windows based. Even CE means Microsoft is getting its Windows Tax. Linux or BSD don't have such problems. And CE, unlike the main windows, doesn't have a good app selection for more heavyweight tasks.
  • by tji ( 74570 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @05:07PM (#10604121)
    I've been looking for a cheap web terminal type device for my parents. I've set them up with a good PC, but I think they would like (and actually use) a laptop. But, laptops are overkill both in terms of price and functionality.

    I got a Compaq Aero 8000 [to-tech.com] a few years ago. It seemed to be the perfect fit.. laptop form factor, flash based - instant on, good sized LCD display and keyboard, built-in PCMCIA and CompactFlash slots.. But, the Windows CE software sucked badly enough to make the device painful to use.

    The same form factor - maybe upping the resolution to 1024x768, with a decently responsive OS, and a good WWW browser, would be all the laptop most people would need. If it ran an open OS, like Linux, there would be plenty of software available for it (even if the manufacturer abandoned it, like Compaq did with the Aero 8000, leaving users with an extremely outdated version of IE for a browser).
  • Acronym Madness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    PIC has been used. MANY times. In many fields, sometimes multiple times within one field. For instance:
    PIC = Programmable Integrated Circuit (ie. Microchip PIC).
    PIC = Programmable Interrupt Controller.
    PIC = Position Independant Code. ... I'm always running into new Acroynms using PIC, I just never btoher to remember them. It's silly.
  • by Swamii ( 594522 )
    Larry Ellison's New Internet Computer [businesswire.com]. Complete failure. Need we say more?
  • This is what happens when the Engineering process doesn't include the markteting process.


    Something neat, with some cool features but alas, relativly useless -- not to mention a bit dated.

  • I just want a little device that I can plug into an ethernet and then hide under a desk somewhere, quietly sniffing the network and occasionally uploading UserIDs, passwords and other personal information to a website of my choosing. Ideally it could determine the proxies to go through by inspecting network traffic, as well. If it had both an ethernet connector AND a wireless card, you'd be able to connect to it from right off site too, no messy sending to a hard-coded web page that may or may not still be
  • What makes this offering from AMD qualitatively better than these things [cappuccinopc.com]? The Cappucinos have a real Pentium in them, whereas this AMD thing uses a Geode, which is just awful.

    Schwab

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can't understand why, If there is a demand for this kind of stuff, they don't ship a standard container of old cast off P-II and 14" monitors over to the third world and have the cheap labor over there piece the pc's togeter?

    I'm writing this on a $60 P-II w/ 128M, a free, cast-off 17" monitor, and a (loss-leader) $100 250 g hard drive, running Debian installed Knoppix.

    I think I paid too much for the P-II

    (plus a $70 a month DSL line)

    There is free junk everywhere
  • This has no market (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Friday October 22, 2004 @05:28PM (#10604314) Homepage
    It's aimed at 'developing' markets? What happened to the days when companies actually did some market research before releasing a product?

    1. $249 is *not* cheap in the developing world - in fact it can easily be more than a months salary (in some countries several months - I knew a guy who worked in Bosnia for a time... he used his salary to pay 8 people to do his work for him and still had enough left over for a nice house).
    2. Dialup? Most of these countries are hugely into mobile technology now, where the setup cost is low (no land lines to dig). Where connectivity does exist it is through local cyber-cafe's - the home PC just isn't as common, or required when you have better things to do, like keeping food on the table.
    3. Guess what happens to the old PCs you think are 'slow'? A lot of them are happily chugging away running Win95 or Win3.1 (linux is also becoming more popular, but is still a minority) in developing countries, for a few dollars a pop or even free.
  • "The machine, about the size of a Kleenex box, contains a 10-GB hard drive, 128 MB of memory and a 56k modem. The computer runs a version of Microsoft Windows CE that includes some features of the Windows XP software for the PC. The software suite also includes the Internet Explorer for cruising the Web...

    Haha - nice one fellas - that just made me laugh so hard :)
  • We're still waiting for a LinuxBIOS to make a touchscreen 3Com Audrey worth owning - and those cost $80 in the aftermarket.

Just go with the flow control, roll with the crunches, and, when you get a prompt, type like hell.

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