Feeds

No such thing as a free PC

Users given hardware for nothing, but must agree to suffer advertising bombardment

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

Free-PC.com is giving away computers for free. Literally. In a $10 million experiment,California-based Free-PC.com is doling out 10,000 Compaq Presarios to punters prepared to share their intimate buying habits with the company. No doubt, the demographics have to be right too. Free-PC.com ain't saying what people have to be to qualify for their freebie. The company is offering a sub-$1000 Compaq system, with a Pentium 333MHz processor, 32MB RAM and 4GB hard drive. This is not exactly top of the range, but at these non-prices, who's complaining? The Internet connection is also free. At least half of the hard drive is filled with adverts, which cannot be removed and which are permanently displayed. New ads are downloaded automatically when Freebie PC users go on-line. Some ads are full-motion,so online refreshes could be inordinately time-consuming. This feature of the Freebie PC would hamper extension of the programme to countries, such as the UK, where local calls are paid for. Freebie users who do not use the Internet for at least ten hours a month, will see their PC attempt to dial-up and download new adverts automatically. It will be interesting to see how Free-PC.com enforces its conditions of usage. Analyst Clive Longbottom of CSL Consultancy, said: "I think what they’ll do is send the boys round and take the thing back. And they’ll probably be doing a lot of that." Giving PCs away may seem an unusual sales strategy, but many industry watchers have predicted that this is the logical conclusion of falling hardware prices. Although no UK company has announced a similar offer -- yet -- it looks likely that it will be available here soon. Longbottom says: "This is the next logical step for ISPs; they have tried giving away software and free Internet access to get people on-line. They will not be giving these computers away as PCs, but as Internet entrance points." The Freebie PC project is also evidence of how companies can make use of surplus budget-priced PCs. According to Longbottom there will be a "new market for bottom-end and even reconditioned PCs in this area". ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.