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InformationWeek Daily - Monday, Nov 5, 2007


Editor's Note

Asus's Eee Has It All Over Wal-Mart's Linux PC

Two new PCs running Linux out of the box hit the shelves last week: Asus's $399 Eee Flash-storage mini-notebook and Everex's $198 TC2502 gPC, courtesy of Wal-Mart. Yes, they both run Linux, but the similarities end there -- and my money's on the Eee being the real success story of the two.

For one, the Eee looks like it may be the first really successful product (in terms of both sales and execution) in its niche: low-consumption, low-cost notebooks that offer substantially more than a PDA without also being that much pricier. It comes loaded with some fairly classy and genuinely useful features: Wi-Fi, a small camera, a cache of useful preloaded open-source software, and USB connectivity. The exact feature mix varies between models of the machine, but even the "low-end" Eee, which is available for $299, is a nice piece of work. And if you go by what Asus claims, they're practically sprouting wings and flying off the shelves by themselves.

So what about the gPC? From what I can tell it's mostly getting attention because a) it's cheap, b) it runs the Ubuntu-derived gOS, and c) Wal-Mart is selling it -- not because it's actually breaking any useful ground. Its $199 price tag gives you 512 Mbytes of RAM (same as the Eee, actually) speakers, 80 Gbytes of hard drive space, DVD drive (something the Eee admittedly does not have but hardly required) -- but no display.

The lack of a monitor instantly makes the gPC that much less useful to its intended market in the first place. If you're working on a $199 budget to begin with, you're either going to have to shell out at least another $100 for a monitor of some kind, or (if you're dead lucky) pick one up from your local PC guru who's finally getting rid of his old Trinitron tube display and replacing it with a flat-panel. And if you're going to end up spending $299 or more for the whole package, why not just get the Eee anyway, which gives you portability and wireless access, and a display?

Read the rest of my blog post and leave a comment.

Serdar Yegulalp
syegulalp@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com

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