Acer has announced a range of low price computers for single applications, dubbed the X Computer (XC).
Priced as low as $199 (#120), XCs will be built around 386 and x86 processors running either DOS or Microsoft Windows CE. The functions of the devices will vary from mobile Web browsing and Email, set-top box Net access, gaming and online banking.
However, Acer refused to say when the products would ship.
Acer expects the market for XCs to rival that for consumer PCs by 2002 and that by 2005 there will be more XCs sold than PCs. "The Internet and the XC are catalysts that will change the world," declared Stan Shih, Acer's CEO. "As the 21st century approaches, we embark upon a new age of enlightenment that has the potential to affect more than a billion people around the globe. This is the heritage of the XC."
However, Mike Welch, consultant with Inteco, was less optimistic. "Manufacturers have to look at this realistically," he said. "Companies assume that if 75% of people do not have Internet access then there is a huge market for low-cost devices to access the Internet. But most people do not understand why they should want these devices. The people that have expressed an interested in Web browsing and banking via the TV already use PCs either at home or at work."
Welch noted that in Europe there is the added problem of the relatively high cost of phone calls compared to the US.
Acer has announced five XC reference platforms based on the x86 system architecture and native IP. Supporting layers can be offered including Fast IR, Universal Serial Bus, PCI, Flash Card, DVD and 2D/3D graphics.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago