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September 30, 2005

AOpen launches Intel Mac mini Clone

Mark Hachman at ExtremeTechPricing, Ship Date Set For Mac Mini Clone:

AOpen has announced prices and a ship date for its “Pandora” box, the Intel-based clone of the Apple Mac mini.

The Pandora will be sold as a complete system, according to a note from the OEM that was sent to reporters this week. The Pandora will sell for an estimated price of $499 for a Windows-based configuration, and $399 for one configured around Linux. Systems will be available by Christmas, the company said.

I like small form factor machines but it’s not really clear to me what the benefit is in mimicking the Mac mini.

Update: Legit Reviews has the specs and a review.

Posted at 11:13 am. Filed under AOpen, Apple, Companies, Desktop PC, Small Form Factor

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Intel Sneaks out Cheap Pentiums

John G. Spooner at PC Magazine:

Intel is quietly offering a handful of low-end Pentium 4 processors to large PC makers.

Normally trumpeted as Intel Corp.’s flagship chip brand, chips such the new Pentium 4 516, which do not appear on the chip maker’s public price list, are actually closer to its Celeron D value brand chips.

Chips such as the 516, which have been showing up in some brand-name desktop PCs this fall, appear to be designed to help manufacturers market relatively inexpensive PC models with Pentium 4s inside them.

The Pentium 4 516 found in the newly introduced eMachines T5010 runs at 2.93GHz, is 64-bit capable and includes 1MB of cache and a 533MHz bus to shuttle data. The chip lacks hyperthreading along with the 800MHz bus found in chips such as the Pentium 4 520, which are listed on Intel’s public price list.

Gateway, whose eMachines-brand desktop line uses mainly AMD chips, chose the Pentium 4 516 for a specific reason.

“As always, it’s a matter of trading of balancing the best features for the price. We selected this [Pentium 4 516] product because we wanted to give customers a well-rounded Intel P4 configuration for under $500,” a Gateway spokesperson said in an e-mail.

Yeah, but if the “Intel P4 configuration” is really more like a typical Celeron configuration, there are several impolite terms for what they are doing. It’s hard to figure exactly what kind of price break Intel is actually giving the manufacturers, but TigerDirect is selling some of these chips priced individually. The model 506 (like the 516 but 2.66 GHz) is selling for less than some Celeron D models.

Posted at 10:29 am. Filed under Brands, Celeron, Companies, eMachines, Gateway, Intel, Microprocessors, Pentium 4, TigerDirect

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September 29, 2005

Tiny Keyboards Biggest Obstacle for Handheld Users

Matt Hines at eWeek:

Even as device makers rush to introduce their latest handheld devices at the ongoing CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2005 conference here this week, new research indicates that a significant obstacle to the growth of mobile services may be sitting in the palm of their hands.

According to a study released Tuesday by the University of Connecticut’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, most consumers would be willing to utilize more data-oriented mobile services if the keyboards on their handheld devices weren’t so impossibly cramped. The study found that adoption of wireless activities such as text messaging, picture messaging, Web surfing, phone personalization and gaming remain bogged down by frustration with digit-challenging handheld interfaces.

Reading further, the big complaint is trying to type text on 12 button numeric keypads. Heck I’m not even very enthused on about “thumb typing” on devices which have “full” keyboards.

Posted at 5:01 pm. Filed under Mobile Phones

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