2006 is definitely the year of small computers. The OLPC XO,
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
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.