The chief executive of Acer today called on the entire Taiwanese IT industry to back the development of ubiquitous, cheap Intel based appliances.
Delivering the keynote speech at the Computex show in Taipei, Stan Shih said that he was pushing the idea of low cost Internet appliances - costing as little as $200 - to ensure the future of the island's IT business and to spur innovation.
The machines, which he dubbed XCs, will support the Intel x86 architecture and will cost between $200 and $1,000. They will come in every conceivable form factor, Shih said, and will be dedicated to a single function such as Web browsing. Machines from Acer will begin to appear by the end of the year.
He said: "If Taiwan can do more, we still have an advantage. If we can mass produce XCs, Taiwan can still hold an important role."
The machines, he said, had to be affordable, connect to the network and above all be easy to use, if the sales of a billion PCs by the end of the century, predicted by analysts at IDC, were to be achieved.
"The machines will use specific applications that are so easy to use that even a pig could use them," he said. "You won't need a brain to use them."
"XCs are not PCs, but focused only on certain applications," he continued. "They borrow functions from PCs but are mainly easy to use. They won't replace PCs."
He said the devices will be used for education at different levels, for ecommerce applications and for pure entertainment. They will be targeted at other different niches too, he said.
He said: "We have the infrastructure here in Taiwan to produce these. We can play a more important role in the industry. Flexibility is one of the strengths of Taiwan and we are cost effective."
Because the Taiwanese IT industry was also able to take risks, he said that companies on the island should band together to push for an open XC standard, which would release manufacturers from the grip of both Intel and Microsoft.
"XCs will allow new opportunities. We don't need to compete with each other and that's important for the development of IT on the island," he concluded.
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