AOpen Shows Mac mini Look Alike

As expected and reported by TMO Monday, PC maker AOpen debuted its Apple Mac mini clone Tuesday showing off what many will immediately say is the sincerest form of flattery.

The Mini PC (seen in photo below) was shown at the on-going Computex Taipei 2005 in Taiwan. Measuring 15 cm by 15 cm by 5 cm, the company is calling it "the world?s smallest Intel PC platform."

AOpen?s Mini PC is powered by Intel Pentium M processors with built-in DVD-RW and 2.5-inch hard drive. Its power is the equivalent to that of a desktop PC, and meets the computing needs of most PC users. The product is built with a FireWire 804.11 a/b/g wireless communication module and?has Bluetooth support.?It can also transfer data wirelessly to and from personal computing and communication devices such as PDA and smart phone.

The Mini PC also provides DVI, S-Video, and YPbPr connectors so that it can be connected to HDTV, plasma display monitor, large screen display panels, and high definition audio products.? A user can turn the Mini PC into the control hub of a digital home entertainment center.

Wired News reported Monday "working prototypes of the Mac mini look-alike running Microsoft Windows and based on Intelis Pentium M CPU have already been built by Taiwan-based PC maker AOpen, according to two sources in Taiwanis PC manufacturing industry who have seen them."

The sources also said a prototype was built at Intelis request, and that the Mac mini clone will be announced at the Computex trade show, which runs May 31 through June 4 in Taipei, Taiwan.

AOpen manufactures PC and components as a subsidiary of the Taiwanese corporation Wistron, and is affiliated with the giant Acer group.

The Mac mini was launched in January by Apple CEO and company co-founder Steve Jobs.

Analysts contacted for this story said they did not believe Intel will easily coattail on Appleis Mac mini success. "The Pentium M and Windows XP are pretty expensive components. It would be hard to hit the Mac miniis $499 price point with that combo," said IDC analyst Roger Kay.

Another problem with a Mac mini-like Windows PC: itis small size will limit expansion, something larger PC boxes have played up as a marketing plus over Macs like the Mac mini, eMac, and iMac.