Lindows launches ‘one per room’ $329 mini PC

Looks like a major breakthrough for Via to us...

Lindows boss Michael Robertson sends The Reg (along with half the known universe, as far as we can make out) frequent editions of "Michael's Minutes," chatty bulletins communicating all the news and doings of the company. On the basis that there can't possibly be that much interesting about Lindows, we bin most of them without reading them; but we like the latest - we accept that whether we like his Minutes or not, Michael knows what he's doing, and this time in particular we think he's on the money.

He's announced the Lindows Media Computer, which is a small footprint mini-ITX cased machine using a 933MHz Via C3 E-Series processor, Via mini-ITX motherboard and Elegent's etDVD bios. You may find this rings a few bells. The etDVD bios is an interesting notion which effectively allows you to not bother with the PC operating system at all if you just want to shove a DVD into the box and play it, and it intrigued us when we first saw it, although it struck us as a step towards a sensible role for PCs in home entertainment, rather than a complete fix.

Via has numbers of smallish customers for the products it's aiming at this sector, but getting Michael on board, bless him, looks like a biggie to us. The LMC has an entry price of $329, is small and neat looking, and really does look like a viable candidate for the kind of cheap, unobtrusive PC that could be deployed in numbers around the home. As Michael says: "we envision a future where every room of a house and office has one or more PCs, and mini-PCs are the ideal machines to stick on a bookshelf, in a conference room or any tight quarters."

Indeed. The Register is inclined to order a brace, and should Lindows wish to ship them round (we were only kidding about binning the emails, honest) we will not argue.

Technically, there's nothing obviously clever about the LMC. It is a packaging of readily-available components, neatly positioned in terms of pitch and price to be a no-brainer purchase. And that's what's clever about Lindows - Michael knows how you shift stuff, and while we at The Register may be OS snobs, we respect that. In this case (if you'll pardon the expression) we approve heartily of the components - anything, frankly, that kicks against brick-shaped CPU cooling rigs and monster, noisy cases with built-in wind tunnels is good, we reckon. And hell, as regards Lindows, once you've got them you can always install something else, even Windows XP, if you wanted. (We were only kidding about that too, honest. Just ship them round, Mike, OK?) ®

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