Acer aims no-frills PC at developing countries

Taiwan's largest PC maker, the Acer Group, next month will unveil a low-cost, limited-function desktop PC that it will start marketing in developing countries such as China later this year, a company official has confirmed here today.

Known internally as the Acer Basic, the company is targeting a retail price of around US$500 for the no-frills PC, which will be introduced at the Computex show here in Taipei, according to the official, who asked not to be named.

Unlike the well-publicised network appliances expected from companies such as Oracle and Sun, the Acer Basic will be designed for stand-alone use, although it also can be fitted with a modem for connecting to the Internet.

Acer intends to keep the PC's manufacturing cost below US$400 and therefore is forced to limit its capabilities, sources say. The PC's US$500 price will not include a monitor, but the unit can be connected to either a television set or a computer monitor.

The company plans to use a Cyrix-designed 5x86 processor sourced from IBM microelectronics to power the first model, sources say. The unit, which is built around an all-in-one motherboard, will also feature DOS residing on a ROM chip, 4Mb of RAM, 512Kb of video RAM and a floppy drive, sources say.

Instead of incorporating a hard drive, which would drive up the cost, Acer plans to use an internal version of Iomega's Zip drive, which uses proprietary 100Mb disks that retail at about US$20, they say.

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