AMD brings bare-bones PC to consumers

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This sounds like a more solid, and economically feasible idea. It sticks to major communication technology standards, and focuses in on specific needed uses. I think this kind of product will do a lot more to gap the technology divide in third world countries.

Radio Shack plans to start selling a low-cost alternative to the personal computer starting Sunday.

The $299 machine, dubbed the Personal Internet Communicator, was designed by Advanced Micro Devices to access the Internet and perform basic computing tasks.

Sunnyvale-based AMD originally conceived the device last year for low-income consumers in developing countries as part of an effort it calls “50×15.” AMD Chief Executive Hector Ruiz wants more than half of the world’s population using computers by 2015.

It turns out that companies such as Radio Shack see demand for low-cost devices even in the United States.

In contrast to more complex personal computers, the Personal Internet Communicator is a bare-bones machine that is supposed to be simple, reliable and durable, said Bill Edwards, AMD’s chief innovation officer.

It uses the stripped-down Windows CE operating system from Microsoft and can be used to read and create word processing, spreadsheet and presentation files as well as access the Internet or send e-mail.

“It’s not a general-purpose PC,” Edwards said. “It focuses on communications, and for a lot of folks, that’s all they need.”

So far, telephone and cable TV companies have begun providing subscribers with the machine in places such as Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean and India. Soon, companies in China, Russia, Turkey and elsewhere will start selling the Personal Internet Communicator.

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