The CVS retail chain began offering a $99 Sylvania netbook over Labor Day weekend and an informal poll of a handful of stores revealed that the devices flew off CVS shelves shortly after stores opened.
The $99 price represents a breakthrough for a netbook offered through a bricks and mortar retail outlet. Netbooks -- typically manufactured by Chinese companies -- with similar specs have been offered on a variety of Web sites.
The 7-inch-display netbook features 128 MB of internal memory and 2 GB of NAND flash. The computer runs Internet Explorer on Windows CE 6.0. Although the OS is an older version of Microsoft's operating system, users are able to use a variety of generic programs and applications.
CVS was not immediately available for comment over the holiday weekend. The company featured the "New Netbook... Wow! $99.99" computer in its advertising circular in Sunday newspapers.
The 2-pound netbook features a Via 8505 processor based on the ARM 320-MHz standard. The computer comes with 3 USB ports, an SD card slot, a mousepad, built-in lithium battery, and microphone and earphone jacks.
Reviews and comments on user chat rooms were generally favorable, although some consumers seemed disappointed that the machine did not match netbooks with more robust operating systems and processors.
"This is better than I expected," said one pleased owner. "I actually like this little mini-netbook. It's pretty fast and responsive. Windows CE 6.0 professional plus is much faster than the older Windows CE 5.0 units (I) tested on YouTube... not super fast, just faster than I expected."
Several users said they hoped to find a way to eventually download some Android apps to the netbook. Many users said they bought the netbook for their children and others said they were putting the machines aside to use as holiday presents.
Although the netbook can't run advanced applications like Microsoft Office 2007, the Sylvania netbook includes productivity programs like Wordpad, docviewer, pdfviewer, xlsviewer. Standard programs include Windows Media Player, Messenger Image Viewer, Recorder, and Calculator.
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