Another Challenge to Microsoft's Monopoly: Linux PC Offering Includes Earthlink, Microtel and Xandros
Microtel Computer Systems has taken on the challenge of Micro Center's expanded Linux offerings with an initiative of their own. Microtel says that by bundling Xandros they will add extensively to their built-to-order business model. Micotel designs, manufactures and customizes offerings to customer specifications in a manner reminiscent of Dell.
Microtel's PCs have emerged as competitors to major hardware vendors selling directly to consumers, as well as through U.S. retailers, System Integrators, and VARS/VADS. The Xandros initiative will include a $69.99 PC and a $399 laptop, for new subscribers to EarthLink's Premium Dial-Up Internet service. The fully equipped Xandros PCs and laptops will include Firefox web browsing, Thunderbird e-mailing, and Skype VoIP global calling.
Rich Hindman, Microtel's vice president of marketing said that "Xandros is known for its user-friendly features, making even a novice user feel right at home, and the new security features restore the joy of going out on the web." He further stated that "Those who bought Microtel's Xandros PCs through leading online retailers have been extremely satisfied with their purchases, making Xandros the obvious choice for EarthLink customers as well."
Microtel received extensive coverage by first offering pre-loaded Linux PC's through Wal-Mart in 2002. PC makers, such as Dell and HP, who typically shied away from offering Linux on their machines saying there was little demand, have also started selling Linux on retail workstations and laptops.
Andreas Typaldos, Xandros CEO has attempted to reinforce the new venture by saying,"Microtel's built-to-order laptops and PCs present outstanding selection and value to EarthLink subscribers. Based on certification tests performed in the Xandros Labs, Microtel's name-brand components will also provide excellent quality and performance."
Free Internet Calling?
The Xandros PCs and laptops will include free Skype-to-Skype calling worldwide, plus an exclusive bonus voucher for up to 120 minutes of SkypeOut calling to the Public Telephone System globally. Known primarily in Europe, Skype adoption has made its own headlines. Achieving an average monthly growth rate of 122 per cent, Skype reached one million users in October 2004. As of this report, Skype has achieve approximately 115 million downloads of its software since its beginning exemplifying the spiraling growth of Voice over IP telephony.
The $69 Xandros/Microtel computers will include built-in invulnerability to most viruses, worms and spyware that has plagued Microsoft Windows. Xandros Personal Firewall has proven effective and flexible in protecting against Internet intruders. An optional enhanced Internet security package includes Anti-Virus, encrypted home folders, and secure access to virtual private networks. Xandros has a reputation of offering the most compatibility to Microsoft Windows of all Linux distributions including home and SMB networking and interoperability.
According to both companies, their PCs and laptops are available immediately at the http://www.microtelpc.com, with a $150 instant rebate for new EarthLink dial up subscribers. Prices for the AMD and Intel-based PCs range from $69.99 for a Sempron 2200+ with 256MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive and 52x CD-ROM, to $511 for an Athlon 64 3200+ with 256MB of RAM, 120GB hard drive, and a 16x double-layer DVDRW/CDRW combo drive. Notebook prices with the rebate range from $399 for a 14.1" VIA C3 to $1,433.50 for an Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz processor and 17" screen.
The $69.99 PC and the $399 notebook come with the Standard Edition of the Xandros Desktop operation system and a $20 upgrade option to Xandros SurfSide Linux with the enhanced Internet security package. All other PCs and notebooks come with Xandros SurfSide Linux.
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