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picture of SimPC ad A Dutch company has developed a PC to ease old people's fear of computers. In May 2005 Secure Internet Machines (SIM) will introduce three versions of its simPC, which comes preloaded with software and services, such as online banking.

The basic model costs €299. One model is just a flat screen with all electronics built-in. There is also a wireless model. However, users have to pay €10 a month for services such as spam filters, virus scanners and online storage. They also need a DSL line.

The PC will be idiot-proof, simPC promises. It runs on a proprietary OS; and to prevent problems, users won’t be able to install software, download big files, burn CDs or DVDs or edit videos. The PC also comes with accessories such as a old-user-friendly printer and a simPhone to make VoIP calls. The makers of simPC, founders of unified messaging firm XOIP (sold off to Tiscali), guarantee a boot up-time of less than 40 seconds.

Initially, the PC will be available in the Netherlands and Belgium only, but SIM plans to expand beyond the Low Countries. ®

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