Zonbu (right), a start-up from French entrepreneurs Gregoire Gentil (Twingo) and Alain Rossmann (EO, OpenWave), combines a cellphone business model with open source software to deliver a complete Linux-based PC for as little as $99 and $12.95/month.
The box is pre-loaded with a host of open source freeware -- Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice, Skype, etc. -- all supported online. That includes online backup.
There's no floppy disk, no external drives of any kind. Just plug in your current keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, up to six USB devices, and you're good to go.
By dumping the input and output, you have a two-pound box you can toss in a carry-on for a business trip, although what the TSA guys will think the first time they see it is anyone's guess.
Since it's designed like a laptop, it has a laptop's energy requirements. And if you want colors, you can get colors.
Zonbu combines a host of trends -- Internet computing, open source, cellular business models, laptop design, SaaS -- in one box. It will be fun to see if this takes off.
Just remember the risk. If this company goes belly-up in six months, you've got a hunk of useless metal.
Do you think it will?[poll id=47]