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Thai firm flies in early-80s style keyboard PC

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Fed up waiting for Asus' Eee Keyboard to show? Asian mini PC specialist NorhTec may be able to sort you out with a keyboard-encased computer real soon.

The Thai company this week said it will show off its Gecko Surfboard at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas early next year. The product will go on sale shortly afterward.

NorhTec Gecko Surfboard

NorhTec's Gecko Surfboard: harks back to the early 1980s

The $99 machine runs Linux on a 1GHz x86-compatible processor, the Vortex86MX, which also contains graphics and I/O circuitry.

It's not exactly a serious number cruncher, but NorhTec reckons it's fine for basic web browsing, email and instant messaging duties. Crucially, it's a very low-power part able, it's claimed, consuming just 5W.

The Surfboard has 512MB of DDR 2 memory on board, plus an unspecified hard drive, pair of USB 2.0 ports, 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, SD card reader, VGA, and composite-video for connecting it to a telly.

NorhTec Gecko Surfboard

All the ports are round the back

The notion of which brought back fond nostalgic thoughts of the Sinclair Spectrum, though NorhTech's Gecko Surfboard more closely resembles the Acorn Atom and Electron than their rival.

In addition to the Linux version, NorhTec will offer a Windows XP model for $150. ®

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