Skip to comments.Wal-Martís $200 PC - sold out ( 10,000 sold...running Linux Ubuntu )
Posted on 11/13/2007 11:19:21 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
About two weeks ago, Wal-Mart began selling $200 Linux-based PC. The initial run was around 10,000 units. Now Wal-Mart is sold out. Has Linux now found a niche?
The system sold by Wal-Mart was an Everexs TC2502 gPC and is the first mass-market $200 desktop PC. The spec of the system is very low - 1.5 GHz VIA C7 CPU embedded onto a Mini-ITX motherboard, 512MB of RAM and an 80GB Maybe a more relevant question is not whether Linux has found a niche, but whether Windows has outgrown the average user?hard drive - but this doesnt matter because the system does pretty much everything that your average PC users wants. With the gPC you can surf the web, send and receive email, work with word processor and spreadsheet documents, chat with friends, keep a blog updated, edit photos and pictures, even burn DVDs thanks to the built-in DVD burner. About the only thing that your average home user wont be able to do with this PC is play games on it.
One thing that interested me about this PC is that it is shipped in a tower case when the components would fit into a much smaller case. I wondered why this was the case until I came across a write-up on Wired:
Even at the low end, however, image is everything. The gPC is built using tiny components, but put inside a full-size case because research indicates that Wal-Mart shoppers are so unsophisticated they equate physical size with capability.
That Wal-Mart shoppers are so unsophisticated bit is a tad worrying because I do wonder whether someone who equates case size with capability should be put in charge of a Linux system. The reviews seem pretty positive though. Maybe Wired have underestimate the kind of person who shops at Wal-Mart. Positive reviews far outweigh negative ones. However, the comment that stood out was this:
when you want to jazz it up, just spend 10 bucks for a new linux distro
Interesting comment, eh?
Now heres whats interesting about this PC. It doesnt have what it takes to run Windows Vista, but it has more than enough power to do pretty much everything that users want from a PC. As hardware costs have plummeted, and the power that can be squeezed from components increased, the cost of having Windows installed on such a PC becomes too high a proportion of the cost of components. For example, if you wanted to load Windows Vista Home Basic onto this system (not that Id suggest that you tried - the PC just couldnt cope with Vista), youre adding between $60 and $90 to the cost of the PC (depending on what the vendor pays for an OEM license, if you do it yourself, expect to pay the higher price in this spectrum). In fact, Wal-Mart do sell a similar system with Home Basic pre-installed (this system has an extra 512MB of RAM, a SATA 150 drive instead of an ATA 150 hard drive, and comes with a keyboard and mouse) for $298. Add Microsoft Office to that cost and the price of software doubles the price of the hardware. By installing Linux and OpenOffice, the total cost of the PC is kept as low as possible. While the price of hardware has fallen dramatically, the price of Windows hasnt. This could be Microsofts Achilles Heel. This low price point will appeal to many.
Has Linux finally found a niche in which it can compete against Windows or will the interest in these kinds of systems be limited? I think that Linux might well have found a good niche. Sure, these low-end systems will never appeal to those who want power at any cost (and who dont mind if their systems belch black smoke to achieve that power) but for people looking for a very cheap PC at a rock bottom price (this system is so cheap that I doubt you could build one for as good a price if you added shipping charges for the components into the deal), this must be a pretty irresistible deal.
Maybe a more relevant question is not whether Linux has found a niche, but whether Windows has outgrown the average user?
CHeap sells. But OTOH it does expose a lot of people to linux.
$200 ? wow
Everex.. used to see that name on stuff way back when..
This has to be temporary. Can run a Word Processr, but not a game?
Ubuntu has gained a lot of attention for its capabilities as a desktop Linux distribution for the masses. But it probably took a Wal-Mart to get it attention for the right reason: an affordable OS that can do what people need it to do.
Even though Wired cited research that sneered at the "unsophisticated" Wal-Mart shopper buying the Everex machine because it's crammed inside a big case, Everex seems ready to keep those buyers using an OS not called Windows, by providing 24-hour tech support via a toll-free call.
That's an important piece of the puzzle. If Everex can keep buyers happy and returns out of the initial batch to a minimum, they can push another 10,000 out to shoppers. Maybe more. We have to wonder what the magic number will be that prompts some kind of response from Microsoft.
darn.. the power of capitalism.
With the gPC you can surf the web, send and receive email, work with word processor and spreadsheet documents, chat with friends, keep a blog updated, edit photos and pictures, even burn DVDs thanks to the built-in DVD burner. About the only thing that your average home user wont be able to do with this PC is play games on it.
I’ve never been a gamer,, the rest makes it sound like its worth checking out, next go-around..
Last year Wal-Mart and “MEGA-churches” were going destroy America and the world—did we miss something!?!?
It should be able to run games. It just won't run games written for Windows.
I personally believe the majority of the people who buy them are going to pump them full of warez and put them in the family room for the kids.
My first computer was an Everex. I paid more than this system costs to upgrade the HDD from 20 to 30 MB.
Yes. I am a dinosaur.
Soon 9000 knuckle dragging mouth breathing slugs will return their PC’s to Walmart because they “don’t get that linus thang”
This is obviously a ploy by Microsoft to get everybody turned off of Linux when all these machines crap out at once!.........
...research indicates that Wal-Mart shoppers are so unsophisticated they equate physical size with capability.
So many jokes, so little time...
I’ve been running Gutsy Gibbon Ubuntu for a few weeks now (and Feisty Fawn) before that and have NO complaints. The new compiz video interface is sweet, and I have never had a system crash. Oh, and it is totally free to download and takes about an hour to overwrite your Windows system.
FR is dinosaur-friendly : )
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