VIA preps ultra-low-cost PC


— 11:10 AM on May 10, 2005

ZDNet has a story up about VIA's efforts to create a very low cost PC, priced somewhere on the order of $250:

The Terra PC is a reference design created by Via that will be licensed to PC makers around the world. The company will show off prototypes at the Computex trade show in Taipei next month, and systems are likely to hit the shelves in different markets worldwide by September or October, said Ravi Pradhan, Via's manager for India.
VIA reportedly intends to include a monitor with the system at that price point, which would be quite an accomplishment. To keep costs down, the box will store its OS on a flash ROM, and that OS will be Linux.

I spoke with VIA marketing head Richard Brown about his efforts on a low-cost PC earlier this year, just before he headed to Redmond to meet with Microsoft. Apparently those meetings didn't produce an agreement on a cheaper version of Windows for this device. At that time, Brown was talking about hitting price points as low as $100 and leaving out the hard drive altogether, but the ZDNet story suggests the plans have changed somewhat, at least for the initial push.

Here’s hoping that these low-cost PCs aren’t restricted to international markets like India when they arrive, as AMD’s to-date unsuccessful PIC has been. I'd really like this sort of PC to become available for use as a terminal, a kids' PC, or a basic web/mail system for half the price of a Mac Mini. Perhaps a readily available $250 PC with monitor would even inspire Linux geeks to quit wasting their cycles hacking into Xboxes and PSPs and get to work on a better desktop GUI. Hey, a guy can dream.

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