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Summary:

Unlike US, PC penetration is not that high even in many developed countries, such as France, thereby limiting growth opportunities for broadband service providers. Neuf Cegetel, a French ISP, thinks low cost Linux PCs are the answer. The company has come up with Easy Gate, a […]

Unlike US, PC penetration is not that high even in many developed countries, such as France, thereby limiting growth opportunities for broadband service providers. Neuf Cegetel, a French ISP, thinks low cost Linux PCs are the answer. The company has come up with Easy Gate, a device that looks like a yogurt maker, but is a stripped down PC that runs Linux.

The ISP which plans to go public is targeting “technophobes” with this device, that will be bundled free with a 40 Euros a month broadband connection and unlimited calls to landlines in France. Users can buy a screen, keyboard and webcam for about €99. This will help the company grow its user base, especially since it faces a lot of competition from Free and France Telecom.

Actually, it is not such a bad idea and sounds more reasonable than the much hyped $100-laptop. Many hardware makers are currently working on developing low cost Linux PCs, and the prices can fall further. Previously I had written about Novatium, an Indian start-up which has similar ambitions.

  1. Another company which is already shipping sub-$100 networked PC’s to schools and emerging geographies is NComputing.

  2. So this French ISP is trying to convince people to spend 480 Euros per year on broadband by offering them a computer with an user-unfriendly OS for 99 Euros? They might want to rethink that plan.

  3. Looking at the exchange rate it would be about $50/mo. for broadband and $126 for the PC. What’s so great about that? Am I missing something?

  4. Even if the One Laptop per Child idea a bad one, I’d love to get my hands on a OLPC Laptop or an Intel Classmate PC. I admit that I’m a Linux geek, though.

  5. Note that €40 a month includes broadband and phone service, so it is not such a bad deal.

    I found some pictures here:

    http://www.clubic.com/actualite-38705-easy-gate-box-routeur-pc.html

    But then for “technophobes”, I’d much prefer iMac’s simple design and form factor.

  6. But what does a yogurt maker look like? All I can picture is a bag of milk and bacteria cultures left in the sun . . .

  7. linux unlike windows is designed for networks… so definately it will increase the usuage.

  8. I think I would probably go for this if I lived in France, though I would probably be one who already has a computer, so the cheap linux box isn’t what would get me.

    Impatient: You say that the system has “an user-unfriendly OS”. For one, this migt or might not be true, as they haven’t said which distro they will be using. For someone who has little PC contact, though, Linux is no less user-friendly than windows. I suggest you try it before you judge it.

  9. Sadik ‘Tunde Monday, October 2, 2006

    that it is a good idea but can it route packet/information connectivity to other network internationally.And how trusted will the network be

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