Our very own Gordon Ung summed success in the tech world pretty succinctly in this month's issue: if you want to make your product a hit, it helps to make it cheap. Looks like Chinese manufacturer ZTE was paying attention. This Super Bowl Sunday, the company is releasing a new 7-inch Android Honeycomb tablet -- the ZTE Optik -- with pretty decent specs and a $100 price tag that undercuts the Kindle Fire by half.
Cheapskate. Some folks say it with a snarled upper lip and a curt, terse emphasis on the final syllable, like it’s some kind of awful, horrible moral failing. Puh-leeze. More often than not, cheapskates aren’t ripping off anyone. But the cable, satellite, software, and phone companies sure are.
In a day and age when everyone is trying to upsell, premium-ize, and shake us down on a weekly basis—often under the guise of saving us money—we actually view cheapskatism as a sign of higher intelligence and reason. If approached the right way, of course.
According to an official press release, a device based on the Linux-based prototype (video) unveiled by the HRD ministry could cost around $35 (Rs 1500). But that is still pretty steep, isn’t it? Well, the ministry sees the price “gradually dropping down to $20 and ultimately $10 a piece.”
Aimed at students, and developed by the country’s leading tech universities, the dirt cheap tablet features video conferencing functionality, Flash- and Java-enabled web browsing, a rich multimedia experience, and more. Very little is known about the hardware apart from the fact that it has 2GB RAM, Wi-Fi and one USB port.
But this might as well turn out to be a dud as development projects backed by the Indian government usually face a plethora of hurdles at various stages.
In many respects, it’s more difficult to build a great cheap PC than it is to build a more expensive one. In fact, the less money you have to spend, the more vital it is that every dollar delivers measurable value. With that in mind, we sat down with one simple goal: to build the best inexpensive, multipurpose PC that we would want to use ourselves. We didn’t start with any particular budget, but at every turn we shaved as much from the cost as we could—trimming the fancy case, ditching an unnecessary 800W PSU, and scuttling the spendy Core i5 CPU.
The result is an incredibly lean, but still powerful machine featuring a quad-core CPU, a GPU capable of playing anything on a 22-inch panel, and… well, you’ll have to hit the jump to see the rest. Rest assured, though, this is a machine that would be welcome in any of our homes, whether we’re playing games, editing video, touching up photos, ripping movies, or simply surfing the Internet. Oh yeah, we’ll also show you how to assemble the components like a pro, one easy-to-follow step at a time.
And just to keep the whole thing good and honest, we stopped by our local Best Buy and bought the best comparably priced system they had, which we pitted against our ultra-budget machine in a steel-cage match to the death. Want to see who wins? Read on to find out.
Best Buy today announced the launch of its “holiday computing selection” spanning nine different brands. Although the lineup is said to include over 30 notebooks, six netbooks, 17 desktops and four all-in-ones from some of the top brands, the retailer seems to have reserved the spotlight for a $249 Acer laptop. After all, it is Best Buy’s “lowest-advertised-price laptop” ever.
The retailer is hoping that the $249 will appeal to “value-conscious consumers.” But don’t expect the laptop to set any new performance benchmarks, for it features an insipid cocktail containing an Intel Celeron 900 CPU, 2GB memory, and a 160GB hard drive. The $249 Acer notebook will go on sale tomorrow, along with the rest of Best Buy’s holiday computing lineup.
In between the random thoughts and pictures of people’s cats on Twitter, there are some gems to be found. Among those gems are celebrity feuds, our very own Will Smith giving things away, and now cheap airfare.
JetBlue and United Airlines have begun offering “Cheeps” and “twares,” respectively, in an effort to load off empty seats for low prices. JetBlue’s first Cheep was a $9 one-way flight from JFK to Nantucket, and since then they’ve have repeated success. “By promoting the Cheeps through Twitter, we give the already spontaneous audience of Twitter users a chance to grab great last-minute fares,” stated Morgan Johnston, a JetBlue spokesman.
Apparently these tickets have become quite popular, too. According to Robin Urbanski, a United spokeswoman, “Twares are all about surprising our customers with low fares for a very, very limited time. They sell extremely fast because the prices are unbeatable.”
If you’re interested in getting in on the fun, be sure to check out JetBlue’s Cheep Twitter account here, and United’s account here.
The only caveat being that interested persons will have to opt for a two-year service contract with Sprint Nextel, which costs $1,440 and offers 5GB of data.
The same netbook, which features a 1.60GHz Intel Atom processor, 10-inch screen and 160 HDD, is also being offered by AT&T and Verizon along with a two-year contract for $199. Its actual price is $389.
"The design goal is to provide an overall update of the system within the same ID and external appearance," OLPC’s VP of hardware development, John Watlington, announced on Friday. The revised version, which is due in November, will feature 1GB DDR2 SDRAM (currently 256MB) and up to 8GB flash storage (currently 1GB). OLPC will abandon the x-86 processor platform and adopt an ARM-based processor in its stead as part of its Generation 2.0 refresh.
If you are considering a netbook purchase and count the Dell Mini 9 as one of your options, you would be glad to hear that it can be yours for a paltry sum of $99. Any netbook is irresistible when it carries such a dirt cheap price tag.
However, don’t think that Dell is going to allow you to have your cake and eat it too. The hefty subsidy is only available when you opt for a two-year AT&T Laptop Connect agreement. To avail of this offer, which will last until January 31, you will have to mail in a $350 Dell rebate.