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Wal-Mart Unveilied $300 PC Combined With OpenOffice

Wal-Mart Inc. opened its campaign for the back-to-school PC sales season on Wednesday by unveiling a US$298 desktop from Everex that combines three of the most popular industry trends– open-source software, a power-efficient processor, and a lack of “bloatware.”

The Everex Impact GC3502 uses Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Vista OS, but substitutes the OpenOffice.org 2.2 version of word processing and spreadsheet tools for the traditional Microsoft Office variety. The computer runs on a 1.5GHz C7-D processor from Via Technologies Inc., a chip that meets lead-free environmental regulations and saves energy with low wattage demands.

The sales price does not include a monitor, but is still lower than comparable packages sold on Wal-mart’s Web site, such as a Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) Compaq Presario, an Acer America Corp. AcerPower FH Minitower and a Dell Inc. Dimension desktop.

PC vendors usually compete for customers by slashing prices during the eight-week back-to-school season, stretching from mid-July to mid-September. But Everex also hopes to attract buyers by avoiding the free “trial software” that annoys many users, according to Eugene Chang, a product manager at Everex, of Fremont, California.

Dell followed a similar strategy on July 10 when it withheld bloatware from its new Vostro line of PCs for small business users, after a long campaign by bloggers and Dell customers against common practice by PC vendors of loading unrequested software onto new computers. Software companies fund the effort as a way to find new users.

Although those feature are popular, they could backfire on Everex because most U.S. consumers are not yet familiar with Via processors or OpenOffice software, one analyst said.

“It’s not surprising that Wal-Mart, of all retailers, will sell the $298 Everex desktop; it’s a good marriage with their biggest audience– budget buyers,” said Toni DuBoise, a senior analyst with Current Analysis West.

“But it has a couple of problems, one is that it uses a Via processor, which is almost unknown to U.S. consumers. And it runs at just 1.5 GHz, so it’s unknown how it will handle Microsoft Vista,” she said. “And running OpenOffice is kind of a unique tactic. It’s anti-Microsoft, since Microsoft obviously owns the market for productivity software. So users may have some concerns about compatibility.”

Wal-Mart, Desktop, PC, $300 Pc, OpenOffice, Tech News

Source:? Yahoo News

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