Ha! Another Geode based IA.
They choose this design because it's pretty much a whole low-power x86
system on basically 2-3 total chips, not including memory. The problems
with this system are not the clock speed, but rather the way that they
achieved the low-power status. A Geode has a frontside bus speed of only
33MHz. This allows them to lower the power and be able to omit level 2
cache in a design at the expense of overall performance. As a Video on
Demand set-top box that is boosted by a hardware decoder card, this isn't
a bad idea- as a webpad or IA, it's not so good of an idea.
This one's worse- it's a Geode based unit AND expensive. VIA's already
partnered with people that are selling ultralightweight laptops and
webpads using a laptop geared variant of the Eden chipset. Prices are
expected to be around $799 with something like 256-512Mb of RAM.
As for there being no market, well, I wouldn't say that, per se. It's
more of a "being way too early" and having a completely wrong-headed
approach to the whole idea. Combine that with stupid business models
(I mean, really, not a SINGLE one of them really had any other plans
different from Netpliance's...), a general lack of real broadband
options, and relying on the piss-poor resolution of the televisions
out there- you've got a sure-fire loser at that point.
In my not so humble opinion, what they should have went after was an
"armored" low-cost PC or PC-like machine. Something with the ability
to be expanded as the need arose for things like word processing, etc.-
but something that they can't get virii, etc. on. Something that's
got expandability, but can't be easily broken (unlike PC's...). It
won't be cheaper than the cheapest PC, but it'll be fairly close to
it and it'll have the plus of being largely unbreakable.
Once you see HD monitors filter down into the realm of the general
populace, you'll see more of what I'm talking about pop up. Not
really an IA, but more of a CA (Computing Appliance).