Sunday, July 12, 2009

$100 PC Era Brought by Asus EEE PC, Not OLPC, After All: $129, 9" LCD (also Alpha 400

by Clayton iN Cleveland Saturday, Jul. 11, 2009 at 2:50 PM

One of the things that capitalists fear the most, believe it or not, is the concept of a $100 PC. That's why ever since the Asus EEE came out in October 2008 there has been constant pressure to up the performance -- and of course the price -- from every kind of news and PR source and of course from Microsoft, who have practically been willing to give away their once-discarded XP OS to get it on so-called "netbooks" (as their partner in crime, Intel, promptly dubbed them).

The $100 PC originally was promised by the nonprofit OLPC (One Laptop Per Child project), and they failed to deliver, even switched from Linux to that "vast capitalist conspiracy," Windows. Even Asus failed to attain $100 exactly and switched to Windows also.

But can we finally agree that the day of "the computer you need is always $5000" -- gross exploitation of computer consumers by corporate capitalism -- is over and the day of $100 PCs (laptops, notebooks, MIDs, smartphone computers, etc.) is finally here? I mean, if can sell a 9-inch version for $129.95, that's close enough for me to declare victory. Even if it is only for July 2009. And even if the unit is a refurb (3-month warranty, which American Express should extend to 1-year if you use them). (Buyer Beware: When you order on a special deal online, don't forget to apply the "secret savings code," 900M here, at checkout to get the near $100 price . Write the code down as soon as you see it.) If you insist on brand new, and if a 7-inch screen will suffice, the same outfit offers our beloved ALPHA-400, always, day in and day out, for $149.99 (sometimes near $130) .

As I said in October, the Asus EEE PC will be remembered as the Model T of computers -- the computer for the masses that put the world on the Web (and not just the core developed nations). In a sense, there is a chance to get your piece of history.


On a recent trip to the Microcenter store out in Mayfield Heights, I was shocked to find not one Linux notebook. And this was one of the first retailers to carry the Asus EEE PC in bricks-and-mortar stores. More recently, news reports say that Microsoft XP has about a 99-percent share in mini-laptops (netbooks) being sold now.

Do you feel baited and switched? It's a technique as old as retailing, mercantilism, and probably trade itself; and it works best under capitalism: "Underpowered." "Unfamiliar." "For kids." "Not for intensive gaming, video editing [or whatever]." "Needs a larger screen for real work" [as large as that mural-sized LCD on your wall, or is a 2" cellphone screen enough sometimes?]. Or as Bill Gates famously said, "Geez, get yourself a decent computer."


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