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Discount outfit sells sub-£100 Acorn NCs

Price breakthrough unlikely to be totally welcome

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The £100 NC (that's around $160) has arrived - unfortunately, it's arrived in the shape of a close-out sale of Acorn-designed Netproducts Netstations. The machines have gone on sale via discount sales operation Morgan Computers, and seem to be surplus stock from Netchannel UK's abandonment of the ARM-based NC design. Prior to being bought by NTL, Netchannel UK had made what seemed to be desultory attempts to sell the machines into the consumer market, providing Internet access via TVs, but Morgan's enthusiastic "access the Internet on your TV" for £99.99 now seems doubtful. Acorn has seen some success for its NC designs recently in the set-top box arena, and these may ultimately lead on to commercial success, despite the apparent Netchannel failure. Netchannel to all intents and purposes didn't try to sell the Netstation, and as the cable companies are only just starting to dip into the interactive market, it might be said to have been ahead of its time. But the flop is nevertheless embarrassing for Acorn, and fate is fickle. A couple of years ago the company was crowing about being selected by Oracle to produce NC reference designs, and talking about Netstations selling for under $500. Now Oracle seems to be a lot more interested in Intel designs, and the Netstation has made an unwelcome price breakthrough. ® Click for more stories

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