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Print 16 comment(s) - last by bighairycamel.. on Dec 27 at 7:31 AM

The LiteComputer may even have dual-cores

2006 is definitely the year of small computers. The OLPC XO, Intel's Classmate PC, and recently the Mobilis by Encore Software, are all trying to take a chunk out of the entry-level education market. But just when three players were making things interesting, a fourth has now joined the fray. Called the LiteComputer, the new entry is poised to be released by mid-2007 and is being developed by a company called Lite Appliances.

According to Lite Appliances, the LiteComputer will be based on non-standard hardware, protecting it from viruses and other forms of malicious intent. This means no AMD or Intel processors here, only proprietary stuff. The main processor that powers the LiteComputer will be an Analog Devices' Blackfin processor. Interestingly, Analog Devices also has a dual-core version of the Blackfin, but at the time of this report, it's uncertain which version the LiteComputer will be using.

Based in Atlanta, Lite Appliances is confident that its small computer will succeed. The company said that one of its main advantages is that all software was developed in house and no expensive applications are used. The LiteComputer will also be compatible with other free office productivity software too. Google's Docs and Spreadsheets will be supported as well as other free productivity software.

Lite Appliances said that its computer will cost roughly $100 to build. However, an LCD screen is not included. If customers want an LCD screen, it would add roughly $100 to the total price. Lite Appliances said a clam-shell version of its unit is on the way for next year. Apparently, the upstart company already has a lineup of 200 customers waiting. The LiteComputer will be shown at the upcoming CES show.



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Wow a notebook without an LCD!!!
By bighairycamel on 12/22/2006 2:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
So if you can memorize all the keyboard commands to open the windows start menu, navigate to the office folder, open word, start typing, spell check it and print: all without looking at a screen, then this laptop is for you!

Otherwise gimme $200.




RE: Wow a notebook without an LCD!!!
By ThisSpaceForRent on 12/22/2006 2:35:43 PM , Rating: 5
Actually not including the LCD does make sense. Since we're moving away from using CRT's in this country, and our waste from old computers is ending up in other countries, it would stand to reason that there is an abundant supply of old, functioning CRT's still out there in the world. If the money they save by not included a LCD adds functionality to the unit I'm all for it.


RE: Wow a notebook without an LCD!!!
By Justin Case on 12/22/2006 6:14:17 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, because (it stands to reason), someone is paying to ship those old, heavy CRTs to other countries as opposed to, say, selling them for scrap or throwing them into a dump. ;-)

When even donated food doesn't make it to its intended destination, what do you think are the chances that discarded CRTs are being checked, transported and delivered to some poor kids in Africa...? And what are the chances they'll have 24/7 access to electricity, to power it?

If you donate a complete, working system to some charity, maybe it'll end up somewhere. But if one of the components is going to be left behind, it's precisely the (heavy, bulky) CRT, that would cost the most to ship.

If they made a system with no display for, say, $50, or even $75, maybe it would find its niche. As it stands, the LiteComputer doesn't offer anything over the OLPC:

http://people.opera.com/howcome/2006/olpc/


By Milliamp on 12/23/2006 12:10:59 AM , Rating: 2
For starters OLPC, currently costs well over $100 to produce.

Second, these people can't afford PC's, but they can afford to get LCD for them? CRT's are cheaper, and a donated CRT+ shipping is still cheaper than paying for an LCD and shipping.


RE: Wow a notebook without an LCD!!!
By Mudvillager on 12/22/2006 3:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
Ever heard of desktop monitors?


By bighairycamel on 12/27/2006 7:31:18 AM , Rating: 2
The confusion is because OLPC stands for one LAPTOP per child. What good is a LAPTOP if you have to haul around a monitor?


What are we missing here???
By Dfere on 12/22/2006 3:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
If this is a "market" product, what country will buy this instead of a recycled pentium III which is already compatible with older VGA monitors? If this is truly a third world country, you need power, not to mention food, clothing and shelter for the children before this. In a more developed country then, one which you have a basic school infrastructure, and net access somehow? Sure, you can get viruses if you are hooked into the 'net and use Windows. But if your infrastructure has net access, you'd think there would be resources to have an administrator and thereby be able install AVG and use windows firewall (all free), again making a donated recycled computer a better purchase than a new "dumb" computer...???

Am I missing a factor here? Durability ("Clamshell" sounds tough but what about recycled notebooks)? Power? (It isn't whether something is low power in a developing country, it is whether there is power at all...???) Perhaps it is a function of 3rd world costs of upgrading old computers to meet XP standards?

Or perhaps "recycled" computers donated to 3rd world countries are not as abundant as we think?




RE: What are we missing here???
By iNGEN on 12/22/2006 6:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If this is a "market" product, what country will buy this instead of a recycled pentium III which is already compatible with older VGA monitors? If this is truly a third world country, you need power, not to mention food, clothing and shelter for the children before this. In a more developed country then, one which you have a basic school infrastructure, and net access somehow? Sure, you can get viruses if you are hooked into the 'net and use Windows. But if your infrastructure has net access, you'd think there would be resources to have an administrator and thereby be able install AVG and use windows firewall (all free), again making a donated recycled computer a better purchase than a new "dumb" computer...???


You really don't have a clue who the OLPC customers are do you? Maybe you just forgot the OLPC design constraints? Did you even read them?


RE: What are we missing here???
By ADDAvenger on 12/23/2006 6:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, I don't know why people keep making cracks about third world countries when everything is saying developing countries.

In places like Peru (which is straight up poor, recovering but still poor) stuff like this could fairly easily have a market. Yes, there are already a lot of old 'recycled' PCs down there, mostly late PIIs and early-ish PIIIs from what I've seen. But regardless, especially in the cities, stuff like this has a market.


RE: What are we missing here???
By lemonadesoda on 12/22/2006 6:10:13 PM , Rating: 3
It's not about "benefacting" 3rd world countries... its about development ecomonics, and the companies that win contracts to supply.


sure
By sprockkets on 12/23/2006 9:56:04 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, we use non standard hardware, sure it will prevent viruses and malware. The blaster worm only worked on Intel, AMD and Via processors, oh wait, all of them.

If you are going to run proprietary software, OK, but what?




RE: sure
By PrinceGaz on 12/23/2006 9:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming the processor they are using is not x86 compatible, therefore rendering all viruses and other low-level attacks against PCs ineffective. That also means it cannot run any normal PC software and will therefore need specially compiled versions of everything that is installed.

Specially compiled software isn't a major problem; it's par for the course in open-source world where you are free to create your own executable with the compiler of your choice. Presumably the distributors of this OLPC version would have come to some arrangements with all the necessary software authors.

Using a processor with a non-standard instruction-set will do a good job of protecting it from malware initially, but if they sell enough of them and they are connected to the internet, virus writers will target them and they would probably be especially vulnerable as little protection would exist for them. They could be more of a threat than the average Windows PC.


RE: sure
By psychobriggsy on 12/26/2006 12:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
You're right there, the Blackfin processor architecture is not standard at all, although interesting. It's in the ARM area of the marketplace however, and I don't know why this company didn't use an ARM based product instead of a 16/32-bit non-standard architecture. It has some nice features though, like the 16-bit MACs and 8-bit video ALUs built into the standard core, and these help it a lot in certain workloads.

Better to use a standard architecture and a decent OS that can block or avoid security issues than a non-standard architecture and hope that your custom software isn't easy to break.


lol wow
By S3anister on 12/22/2006 3:18:35 PM , Rating: 1
a whole 200 customers. I'm amazed...




RE: lol wow
By Lonyo on 12/22/2006 7:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
And if each customer orders 1000 laptops?


By crystal clear on 12/23/2006 12:19:13 AM , Rating: 3
Quote-

-Lite Appliances said that its computer will cost roughly $100 to build

-If customers want an LCD screen, it would add roughly $100 to the total price

Unquote-

*WHERE?? in the USA or China or India???
China or India ofcourse-then

*WHY NOT shift its production into countries like
Brazil & other similar countries ,where it intended to be used.
This will create JOBS-let the poor work for their money than
recv charity.It gives them some self respect & pride.
Plus motivation to work harder & improve their living conditions.
It also helps, give the countrys economy much need relief & gives it the required push in the right direction.

This will not only reduce the cost but include the LCD in the original price target $100.

Whats the main objective-REMOVE POVERTY-HOW-Let them WORK
THEMSELVES OUT OF POVERTY.

Quote-

"the upstart company already has a lineup of 200 customers waiting. "

Unquote-

How can this be believed by us-has the author of this article bothered to check if it is True & who they are.

This appears as "just a promotion to create interest in the company & recognition"-thats what start ups want.




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