$199 Linux-based PCs a "hot seller"

By dropping software from Microsoft and avoiding "Intel inside," retailer Wal-Mart Stores is offering $199 computers it says is a hot seller on its Web site, attracting novices looking for a way onto the Internet as well as high-end users wanting a second box. The promise of a PC replacement--slimmed down to surf the Web and carry out limited tasks--has long tantalized the tech world but failed to generate many sales, especially as prices of name brand computers have slid.

The Wal-Mart machines are full-fledged, if low-powered, computers, but they are not loaded with Microsoft's Windows software or the best known microchips--meaning that the average user will not get exactly what he or she is used to.

"It is going to be harder to get people to adopt that sort of stuff" since most consumers want Windows, concluded Roger Kay, a PC analyst at International Data Corp research group.

Although the Wal-Mart machine has a slower microchip than more expensive computers, rival machines may not surf the Web much faster, since the speed of the Internet connection is usually the bottleneck in online tasks, said Rob Enderle, an analyst at competing research group Giga.

"It is awfully hard to beat this for the price point," he said.

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News source: ZDNet

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