Wal-Mart and the $199 Google PC

It seems that Wal-Mart is about to put a $199 Linux PC on store shelves. The PC, made by Everex, features a 1.5GHz VIA C7-D processor, 512MB RAM and a 80GB hard drive. It runs the gOS version of Ubuntu 7.10 with the Enlightenment window manager. The installed Google apps, Docs, GMail, etc. run under the Firefox browser.

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Can a "Web Appliance" PC compete with a Windows PC?

My take is that while it’s an interesting idea I don’t see it doing well against Windows PCs. Let’s face it, most people who buy a PC at Wal-Mart want to surf the Internet for ‘entertainment’ purposes, have access to work or school documents, and play PC games. I only see this computer filling one of those roles well. The Windows Vista PC that’s about $100 more will fulfill these roles adequately.

The second problem would be support. Plenty of people have a relative that’s at least a Windows power user but few can claim one who’s a Linux desktop expert. You just don’t see a lot of middle ground in the Linux world, you either know it and love it or you don’t touch it. This might dissuade some non-technical buyers.

Lastly, I can’t see the typical poorly manned, poor customer service, discount at all costs Wal-Mart electronics department as capable of selling it. Maybe if it was at Best Buy or somewhere like that, but not at Wal-Mart.

Ultimately, this PC will be bought by Linux fans or people who Linux fans push into buying it.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you think it heralds widespread acceptance of the Linux desktop or is it doomed to flop? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Update

Well, it’s been a while and I haven’t seen any of these devices show up at my local WalMart. Given today’s craze for NetBooks, especially those using cheap SSD drives, the original description of this product seems outdated in today’s marketplace. I have seen Netbooks at WalMart but they are displayed poorly and not priced all that competitively. Plus, most are older models as compared to what you’ll find online or at electronics retailers like BestBuy.

 


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4 Comments »

Comment by All About Nothing
2008-07-07 11:03:16

I don’t see me, or many other people, running out to buy one of these computers.

However, when I finally upgrade the ancient desktop I’ve been using for some eight years now (oy vey, I can’t believe I’ve been using it for over eight years), my plan is to strip it down and install gOS on it. I really am quite interested in playing around with Google’s new operating system, but I don’t wanna be doing that on a machine that I use for day-to-day tasks.

Comment by Buy Gothic Dresses
2008-07-11 04:08:08

I can’t bring myself to buy anything at Wal-Mart any more because of some of their labor practices, and I’m certainly not about to buy a $199 computer from them. Give me Target any time!

 
 
Comment by Vacation Pack List
2008-09-02 22:03:53

Frank I just wonder if I have a bright idea for another idea for a good tool for you to develop: enter a url and give me all the pages in PR order - basically obviously the older posts have better PR but its a pain finding them :-) lissie

 
Comment by Used Tires
2009-11-01 12:50:51

I remember when this computer came out at Walmart, and I agree with your assessments of a Linux based system. I know there are alot of people who think Linux will one day be able to compete with Windows, but I just find that hard to believe especially when even mac can’t do it.

Till then,

Jean

 
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