Feeds

No such thing as a free PC

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

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

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". ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
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
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.