March 20, 2008
The Mini-PC or Mobile Internet Device market is really starting to sizzle. And the great thing is, that some of the hottest and best-selling Mini-PCs run Linux.
In this post, I will be giving a bird eye view of some of the Linux-based devices which are causing a stir in the market.
The LinuTop fanless mini-PC comes in two variants an uses the AMD Geode processor.
It comes with the standard I/O ports for audio, USB 2.0, etherne and monitor.
As you can see in the pic, it can be mounted quite cozily behind a LCD Display.
It has Xubuntu Linux installed with applications such as Firefox, Gaim and OpenOffice.
Linutop is currently available for around ~$450 and ~$350.
This one’s touted as UK’s first £99 laptop. With an agenda to rival the ASUS EeePC, this baby weighs about 1 Kg and has all the standard ports mentioned above along with wireless connectivity.
Originally designed for the Education community, it has all the applications required for playing Music, viewing photos and a suite of Games.
The ElonexONE might have made a slightly late entry into the market, but it’s availabiliy in UK and the low price, makes it a gadget to watch for.
Everex‘s Cloudbook a.k.a gPC was an instant hit at Wal-Mart and was one of the most sought after products in the store. Another reason for it’s popularity was tha OS it was running.
The “Rocket” gOS, was a Ubuntu-based Linux Distro with Google and other Social -Networking gadgets. Everex is now releasing the gPC-mini in competition with Apple’s Mac-mini.
At $499, it consists of 30GB HDD, Webcam , 512MB RAM and a 1.8GHz Intel Dual-Core processor..
The Zonbu laptops are based on a small form-factor hardware the creators like to call the Zonbox. It is based on the Gentoo Distribution and runs the Xfce desktop environment.
It consists of all the standard open source software for Internet, productivity,media along with Wireless connectivity.
The Zonbu desktop-mini or the Notebook are both moderately priced at $99 and $299 respectively.
This one is the mother of them all. The EeePC was not necessarily the first mini-PC out there, but it definitely is the most popular.
ASUStek, first released the ASUS EeePC 4G ultramobile PC, with the Xandros Linux OS and it soon became the most sought after Christmas gift in the US. To date, it still remains the most popular mini-PCs. By 2008, the company promises to flood the market with 12 million EeePC’s.
Well, after reviewing all these, there are two things to be taken under consideration :
1. The the era of low-cost, small form factor, clean-tech, fanless PCs has arrived.
2. These need to be available in large numbers if they are to withhold the attention of the masses. For example, apart from the US and few other countries like UK, they are not easily available. Not for the same price anyways.
Apart from the ASUS EeePC, I don’t know if any of these are available in India. But what I wouldn’t give to play around on these and see if they are actually worth spending time on !!!