French shoppers bag bargain PCs

The world's first sub £200 PC has found favour with French shoppers. Launched over the weekend by French supermarket chain Géant, 3000 Power Net 300 machines have already been sold.

The knock-down price of 1,990 Francs or approximately £180 is the result of a partnership between Cyrix, Geant and a French ISP, Infonie. Stan Swearingen, vice president for National's Cyrix PC division commented: "This is another example of how Cyrix is enabling more and more people access to the Internet."

Customers get a computer with a Cyrix M II- 300 processor, a 15" monitor, 32 MB RAM and a 56K modem. Included in the package is Windows 98 and Internet access software. According to a Cyrix spokesman, the machine is "customised for the Internet" and is set to compete with high-street machines retailing for £1000.

The partnership between a chip maker and an ISP is a concept espoused by National Semi-Conductor CEO Brian Halla. Last year, he spoke of a time when computers would be given away free by ISPs. "You will be buying Internet access instead of a computer," a Cyrix spokesman said.

When will such computers be available in the UK? No specific details are yet available, but the company spokesman added: "It will affect every country."