A Closer Look At Lindows' US$799 Linux Laptop, & Apple Comparisons

[Edit - Our story originally said that the 12" PowerBook has gigabit Ethernet, when in fact, it does not. The 12" PowerBook comes with 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, and the reference to Gigabit Ethernet has been edited out. - Editor]

Continuing its trend of selling super-low priced computers running its LindowsOS operating system, Lindows has released the Lindows MobilePC, an ultralight notebook computer that sells for only US$799. For that price, you get a 933MHz VIA C3 processor, 256MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, USB 2.0, FireWire, a PCMCIA slot and a 12.1" TFT LCD in a 2.9 pound package.

The C3 processor is made by a company called VIA Technologies, and is made especially for low power, low heat applications. According to the somewhat sparse information available on the C3, it is a clone of Intelis Pentium III processor, and even appears to be pin-compatible. While the Pentium III has 32K of L1 and either 256K or 512K of L2 cache, the C3 has 128K of L1 and only 32K of L2 cache. According to VIA, the C3 has a low-voltage mode in which the processor uses under one watt of power, that while greatly reducing processing power while in that mode, it makes it ideal for mobile computing platforms.

Lindows first made headlines as the company that was offering a Linux PC that could (somewhat) run (a couple of) Windows software titles. The company then grabbed attention when it began selling a US$199 PC through Wal-Martis Web site. Lindows has also been sued by Microsoft for infringing on the latter companyis Windows trademark, but that suit has so far resulted in the possibility of Microsoft losing that trademark, a development that would be devastating to Microsoftis strategy in the PC world.

Lindowsi newest offering is designed to break even more barriers in the Windows world, especially in terms of portability (light weight form factor) and the price for that portability. Like most of the ultra-lights, the Lindows MobilePC sacrifices such niceties as an on-board CD-ROM or CD-RW, but it does include FireWire and a Compact Flash reader.

What many Mac users have found interesting, however, is the comparison Lindows made to both the "Apple iNote," and an interesting iBook. In the original press release issued by the company, the MobilePC is compared to four other portables. Included in that comparison was a US$1799 867 MHz Apple iBook, and verbiage in the PR said:

At only 2.9 pounds, the Lindows Mobile PC is the most affordable ultra-light laptop on the market today. Despite its small size, the 933 MHz Lindows Mobile PC features a 12.1" TFT screen, 256 MB RAM, USB 2.0, FireWire, Ethernet and a PCMCIA slot that allows consumers to add a range of features, like wireless networking. The Lindows Mobile PC has a similar shape, size and power as the new Apple iNote [emphasis TMOis] but costs less than half the price.

Mac users, and many other Observers, have noted that the specs and the price of the iBook actually referred to the US$1799 867 MHz 12" PowerBook G4, and not an iBook, and that there is, of course, no Apple iNote, at least not yet. Fortunately, Lindows corrected its Web site late yesterday to properly reference the PowerBook, and all references to "iNote" have also been deleted.

You can find more information on the Lindows MobilePC at the companyis Web site.