Saturday, October 01, 2005

RadioShack to sell $299 AMD PCs

This news item first came across as a joke to me.

And I am still waiting for the punchline.

This device, the Personal Internet Communicator - I swear I did not make it up to belittle the device, was developed for 3rd World countries by AMD (instead of them developing new fabs).

Abbreviated PIC, but pronounced rhyming with hiss.

Currently on sale in India, with China and Turkey to be added soon.

Somehow, somewhere, some Mensas at AMD got together and decided that this PIC device, specs at the bottom of this post, would make a great addition to the computing arsenal of American homes.

And give them, the AMD crew, props for having schneidered the brass at Tandy Corp. into thinking, no, believing, that this is the Next Big Thing!

“Now on sale, at the Great American Technology Store, next to rolls of speaker wires, and diodes, the AMD PIC.”

Begs the question:

Why?

Why??

Why???

Dell offers a $299 PC, really $374 before a $75 rebate, but that is a Pentium 4 system with 256MB of RAM, 80G hard disk, a 17” monitor, free shipping*, Windows XP Home.

For comparison, the PIC comes with a 366MHz AMD Geode, Windows CE, 10G hard drive and no monitor. Shipping not necessary as you can pick one up at you nearest strip mall RadioShack.

This fixed-function device costs $299! Without a monitor!

I want to see if this (really, really bad) idea has legs.

Reminds me of the late, definitely not lamented Java Terminal, popularly known as the Javinal, which rhymes with urinal. (I first saw the word Javinal mentioned by Aaron Goldberg, in an issue of PC Week, many eons ago; so credit to him for the word.)

Wonder if there is a trend here….

Would the PIC turn out to be a piece of shit?

Time would tell.

Seems everyone wants to sell a substandard PC, hardware or software to developing countries.

How would these guys ever compete, but become/remain indentured slaves, fodder for the developed countries if their educational and training equipment continue to be a few steps behind?

Microsoft, are you listening?

There HAS to be a way of selling a computer hardware and/or software cheaply to these countries that acknowledges the fact that their only 'crime' is that they are poor, not brain dead.

*Dell as of the date of this post, is no longer offering free shipping to residential addresses, you would have to go to the nearest US Post Office to retrieve your 'free'-ly shipped package.