$199 PC from Google/Everex at Wal-Mart (and bizarre bikes)

It's IT Blogwatch: in which we wonder about how good a $200 PC can actually be. Not to mention the world of weird and wonderful velocipeds...

Ramon G. McLeod reports:

PC maker Everex rolls out a budget desktop PC today that costs $200 and combines the Ubuntu Linux kernel with Google applications and open source software. The Everex gPC ... goes on sale [November 1] at Wal-mart and is being touted by the company as a close collaboration between the PC maker, the open source community and Google that is intended to "bring Linux to the masses." [more]
Rob Beschizza says it's the shizzle:
Touted as a "green" machine, it has ... 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive ... By using the fast Enlightenment desktop manager ... it's more responsive than Vista is, even on more powerful computers ... If users want to install Windows on it, they can, though Everex cautions that Vista will not run well without a RAM upgrade ... [it] offers a complete, upgradeable system for the lowest possible price, making the gPC a great candidate for home file/media servers and other "experiments" ... you get a ready-to-roll Mini-ITX system ready to be hacked into a CarPC or any of these weird and wonderful SFF designs. [more]
Thomas Ricker wonders why the box is so big:
Attention ignorant Wal-Mart shoppers ... Inside, you'll find a 1.5GHz VIA C7 CPU sitting daintily on a Mini-ITX motherboard ... So why that huge-ass case? That's the best part. Research indicates that Wal-Mart shoppers equate the size of the system to its capability. As such, Everex swaddled all that nothingness in a 2-foot by 2-foot monument to plastic. Now go ahead, Greenpeace, we beg you, rip it apart and let us know just how much non-recyclable polymer and dangerous PVC and BFR this pup really contains. [more]
Wilson Rothman couldn't resist a redneck joke:
Everex deliberately built a large box, even though there's not much under the hood. This is a pure psychological play to woo the pickup truck set, who believe a Chevy S10 is a sure sign of sexual inadequacy ... the question is, will the Wal-Mart crowd bite the bait? It turns out, 5% of people buying a PC at Wal-Mart are buying one for the first time, yes, in 2007. That means that for them, there's no brand allegiance, there's no OS that they are already comfortable with, there's nothing but functionality ("Does it have the e-mail and the pretty ladies on the World Wide Internet?") and price ("I'm not gonna pay no $300 for no damn computer!"). This meets both. [more]
Show Dan Farber the money:
the gPC costs about $170 to make, giving Wal-Mart and Everex some margin. A comparable Vista machine could cost a few hundred dollars more. However, the gPC isn’t going to deliver a great multimedia experience ... It appears that Google will be working with a host of hardware partners to bundle its software on systems as a way to spread the Google gospel ... gPC’s software is free, but the company is exploring advertising and other ways to monetize its open source desktop, Liu said. Free open source software wants to be free, but developers need to eat. [more]
Ooh, and it makes Loren Heiny wonder:
What does a 7" display cost anyway? $50-$100? ... So that means a UMPC with a Via CV7 processor like the Everex system has should be down in the $300-$400 range ... Seriously, pricing is all over the place when it comes to low end desktops and UMPCs and Tablet PCs as well as standard notebooks for that matter. Something is going on terribly wrong with prices ... Here's what I'd like to see: Everex or VIA or someone come up with UMPC shells with displays that I can buy. Make a slate shell. Make a keyboard flip out shell. Whatever. And sell me the motherboard separately ... Seriously, how hard can this be to do? [more]
Steve Yelvington spots a milestone:
[It's] the end of "I can't afford a computer:" ... [it's] less than the price of one night in a New York hotel room. It's not one of those "we only have two at that price" deals; it's available online and at many retail stores starting tomorrow. Look for this to further screw up conventional tech retailers, as Wal-Mart's flat-screen TV maneuver did last year ... In some ways a milestone is just a rock. In other ways it signifies the end of one thing and the beginning of something new. [more]
And finally...

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

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