By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Walmart.com broke a new PC price barrier this week with the entry of two $199 computer systems from Microtel.
To meet this price point Microtel put together a fairly stripped down PC that uses an 800MHz C3 processor from Taiwanese firm Via Technologies, 128MB of SDRAM, a 10GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive. Customers can choose from a model designed for a broadband Internet connection or one equipped with a 56Kbps modem. A monitor is not included.
To further reduce cost the company chose to not use a Microsoft Windows operating system, opting instead for the Linux-based LindowsOS. Other Microtel models now selling through Walmart.com do use Windows XP and Intel and AMD processors. This model is only available at Walmart.com and not in any of the retailer's stores.
The model also ushers in the return of Via's Cyrix brand processor to the U.S. home PC market. In the mid- to late 1990s, Cyrix was a force in the processor market competing with AMD for space in the entry-level segment.
The system comes bundled with 10 applications and for a one-time $99 fee users gain access to Lindows' Click-N-Run Warehouse where they can download a variety of games and business-related programs.
Microtel is a Sweden-based maker of PCs that sell through a variety of U.S. VARs and resellers. The company also sells consumer models in Europe and Latin America.
The San Diego-based Lindows was founded by Michael Robertson, founder of MP3.com, and at this time only offers its OS through the Microtel PC. However, the company has plans to make LindowsOS generally available later this year.
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