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Images: Paying off the PC by the hour

Microsoft's FlexGo program aims to let people pay part of the cost of their computer through an hourly usage charge.
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1 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

prepaid FlexGo card

FlexGo is Microsoft's latest attempt to make PC ownership more accessible to people in emerging markets. Under the plan, customers pay for about half of the PC upfront and then, say, 50 cents or 75 cents per hour of use. After several hundred hours of paid use, they would then own the PC outright.

Here's an example of a prepaid FlexGo card used in Microsoft's early trial in Brazil.

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2 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

FlexGo screenshot

A screenshot of a PC using Microsoft's FlexGo pay-as-you-go technology. A window in the upper right hand corner shows the amount of time already paid for. Users can add more time with a prepaid card.

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3 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Trasmeta builds for FlexGo

Transmeta has been known for making efficient microprocessors for laptops with long battery life. At WinHEC 2006, the company announced a new specialized 90-nanometer Efficeon microprocessor and a reference system platform specifically for Microsoft's FlexGo program.

Transmeta says its new chip and platform support FlexGo at the hardware level. They will also be present in power-efficient desktops that run on batteries for areas without sustained electricity.

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