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Lindows.com, the firm who developed a desktop version of a Linux operating system to lure customers from Microsoft's Windows OS, has designs on becoming a bit more it seems -- a full-fledged maker of personal computers.
The San Diego, Calif., company introduced two company firsts Thursday at the Desktop Linux Summit -- a Linux-powered laptop at an attractive price and a PC featuring protection to shield children from pornography or other undesirable content that may be perused online.
Just as Lindows.com sought to grab customers' attention with its debut of a $199 PC months ago, the startup is looking to extend that strategy with its new line for mobile users. The Lindows Mobile PC is priced at $799, or roughly half the cost of most laptops currently offered from longtime computer vendors IBM, Dell and Compaq.
The 933 MHz Lindows Mobile PC weighs 2.9 pounds, features a 12.1" TFT screen, 256 MB RAM, USB 2.0, Firewire, Ethernet and a PCMCIA slot that allows consumers network wirelessly.
Lindows.com issued a slew of comparative figures to similarly calibrated machines from NEC, IBM and Toshiba. For example, while the IBM ThinkPad x30 is packed with 1 full gigahertz of power, its has only 128 MB, weighs 3.7 pounds, and features the same screen size as the Lindows Mobile PC. But perhaps most interesting to prospective customers, is that costs $1849, or more than double the price of its Lindows counterpart.
Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of Lindows.com, summed up his strategy as such: "Until now, laptop computers have been either too expensive or too heavy to be useful for most consumers," Robertson said. "PDAs are also a problem because they don't offer many features. The Lindows Mobile PC is a powerful machine that can go anywhere you want to take it."
As for the family PC, dubbed the LindowsFamily computer line, the company said the $300 PC is fitted with a Web filtering service that will work out of the box on all network connections.
The company said LindowsFamily PCs block pornographic images from Web-surfing, and from spam in their e-mail inboxes. Hawking his firm's new offering over "parental controls" from two major Internet service providers, Robertson said:
"MSN and AOL's Parental Controls only lull the parents into thinking that there is meaningful protection in place. Most parents are shocked to find out that their children can circumvent MSN's Parental Controls by simply double clicking on the Internet Explorer icon on the desktop once they're online," said Robertson. "These services basically only offer 'one-window' security. Web filtering protection needs to be built into the operating system to be effective and that's what we've done with LindowsFamily."
This is the second customized PC line from Lindows.com. The outfit released a media-centric computer last month to compete with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center.
LindowsFamily PCs may be purchased from walmart.com.