Everex has teamed up with open source players to create a $198 PC (sans display). The Everex Green gPC TC2502 runs a Linux OS and is loaded with (or has links to) free applications, including Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, Google Product Search, Google Blogger, Google YouTube, Google Maps, Google News, Meebo (instant messaging), GIMP (image editing), Firefox, Xing Movie Player, RhythmBox (iTunes substitute), Faqly (tech support), Facebook, Skype and OpenOffice.org 2.2. The gPC will be available in Wal-Mart stores and at walmart.com this month.
"Sub-$200 is magical price point for impulse buyer, and we can deliver 65 to 95 percent savings with open source software," said Paul Kim, Everex director of marketing. Everex will have about 20,000 gPCs in the pipeline this quarter, he added.
The target market is people looking for a cheap, easy to use desktop platform. "Initially we thought of first time users," Kim said. "We did some studies and found a lot of the older generation were interested." Everex wil provide free telephone support for gPC customers.
With the name gPC and all the Google software, you could think that this is a Google PC. Everex is careful to state that applications from Google are an integral part of our product, however, gOS is an entity entirely independent from Google. Everex did get approval from Google to use the icons and trademarks on its gPC.
Besides green, the "g" stands for the gOS, the Ubuntu 7.1 Linux desktop developed by an open source startup of the same name. "The gOS is an alternative operating system that makes it apparent that Google is your entire computing experience," said gOS founder David Liu. "When you make Linux look pretty and put ton of Google apps on it, you pacify it for consumer. You could say gOS is Google inspired but not official stamped." gOS uses the Enlightenment window manager and has taken cues from Apple in designing the interface.
According the Kim, the gPC costs about $170 to make, giving Wal-Mart and Everex some margin. A comparable Vista machine could cost a few hundred dollars more. However, the gPC isn't going to deliver a great multimedia experience. It comes with a low power 1.5 GHz Via C7-D processor and chipsets, 512 MB of SDRAM, an 80 GB disk and a DVD/CD-RW drive. Connectivity to the Internet is via Ethernet--no built-in wireless option.
It appears that Google will be working with a host of hardware partners to bundle its software on systems as a way to spread the Google gospel.
Everex is working on an ultra-mobile gPC and other configurations the Google-oriented, Apple-flavored systems, Kim said. The company also plans to introduce a Spanish language version of the gPC.
gPC's software is free, but the company is exploring advertising and other ways to monetize its open source desktop, Liu said. Free open source software wants to be free, but developers need to eat...