By default, it’s locked-down with automatic login and no automatic updates. The basics are there – it comes with Adobe's Flash player preloaded and OpenOffice 2.4 runs surprisingly well. In fact, this review was written on the machine itself, utterly painlessly. But only users with very low expectations would be happy with it as their main computer.
Open Office is already installed and performs well
Yet it's not a Small Cheap Computer, either. It's certainly compact and bijou, but it's €280 – about £247. While some thin clients, such a Wyse Winterm, can run to £400 or more, £250 is fairly standard for the cheaper, Linux-based end of the thin client market, and these are more powerful, gigaHertz-class Via or Atom-powered machines. So, it's relatively expensive and slow, even compared to low-performance laptots or thin clients with Via C7 chips. Is that the final nail in the Linutop's coffin?
Streaming video is possible but not exactly dependable
No, because unlike a thin client, a Linutop is designed to happily operate entirely standalone, or even for simple Internet-facing tasks. Unlike a "laptot", it's entirely fanless, with no moving parts, and uses standard external screens and I/O devices. There are places where a silent, cool-running all-solid-state PC could be very useful – and where its thrifty usage of electricity could mean it paid for itself in a year or two.
Good luck to them
I can see a few uses for these, shame its a bit lacking in ports though. I work with control systems and something like this with parallel and serial ports would be ideal for either new systems or retrofitting older setups, great for prototyping too.
If they could offer options on port configs, like the second network for a firewall mentioned above or a couple of serial ports for some point of sale kit then this could well be a winner.
As to the price, yes it is a bit steep but they are not a high volume manufacturer so they aren't getting hardware at anything like asus or dell's discounts. Considering what I've seen companies pay for similar kit, 250 euro is very reasonable.
Useless? Methinks not...
On the contrary, this is an excellent piece of kit that has a definite market. Take for instance Point Of Sale terminals... screw one of these on the back of an LCD monitor and you have a nice low cost small footprint retail sales machine. I have already done this with a Eee PC, it' s nice to see more coming on the market.
There are loads of uses, from in-vehicle computing to thin-client terminals. Office PCs could be replaced with this as well, what, you need more than 500MHz for your word-processor? It certainly would reduce the amount of support to the desktops that are deployed in most offices.
1. Home automation PC including pulling files off a server for playback on a TV or audio system. Give it a bit of web presence and the right interfaces and it can set the mood and temperature for you getting home.
2. In-car non-essential systems controller. With the right software this little thing could handle satnav, entertainment, phonecalls etc. A GPS could be a lot more if it was broken out of the little grey plastic box with the stern sounding lady inside.
3. Vulnerable people. Again with the right software this thing could act as the inexpensive hub for things like sheltered accommodation to monitor alarms and sensors detecting people moving around.
4. Animal husbandry. Say you have a hatchery or a breeding project. I'm sure this could be used to monitor various sensors and regulate various outputs accordingly.
If it were cheaper, hams would snap these up by the bucketfull!
Would make a nifty battery powered box to run digital modes like PK31, RTTY, etc. Just use a low power LCD display that can run off an inverter and you're all set for EMCOMM or Field Day...
As Apple don't seem to want to add HDMI onto their MacMini there has to be a market for machines of this size that can be turned into media hubs.
Shame this isn't one of them.