Wal-Mart’s $498 Linspire Linux Laptop
I’ve recently been thinking about picking up a new laptop computer and handing off my Compaq (which has worked great over the past 3 years) to my wife for her excursion into the travel industry. In addition, I’ve also been thinking about switching over to Linux – trying to escape all of the headaches and hassles of using the Windows operating system – viruses, spyware, security holes and overpriced programs. Just as I was logging on today to check out some new prices and reviews (one being Jeremy Wright’s AlienWare laptop review) or even try the free Apple iBook “sign your life away” sweepstakes, I read on the news that Wal-Mart is now selling a Linux based laptop for the low price of $498 – quite a bargain.
But wait a second, Wal-Mart? Why is Wal-Mart stocking its shelves with cheap laptops which work off of the Linux operating system. I mean Wal-Mart is the icon of Wonder Bread America – cheap goods made in China for far less that one can purchase a Sony or IBM branded item. Who makes this laptop? Curtis Mathis or Apex?
Come to find out the new Wal-Mart Linux laptop is built by none other than Linspire, head by former mp3.com founder a Michael Robertson. Wal-Mart’s Linux: The Balance 14.1″ Notebook Computer, priced at $498, is on the low end of laptops: VIA C3 Processor, 128MB RAM, 30GB Hard Drive, CD-ROM Drive, 14.1″ LCD Screen. However, for something cheap, simple and on the go, it’s quite perfect. By using the Linux operating system instead of Windows, Wal-Mart was able to drop the price $100.
Forbes reports how the new Wal-Mart laptop may even be an intended blow at Microsoft. “As if the notorious Linux wasn’t a sharp enough thorn for Bill Gates, the Balance’s office suite is fully compatible with Microsoft file types. With its combination of compatibility and ease of use, complimented by Wal-Mart’s market reach, the Balance will attempt to sway consumers from higher-priced traditional computing to a more affordable option.”
It will need to be seen how desireable the Linux Balance laptop is to the last minute Christmas shopper. But just as Mozilla’s Firefox has caught on with average Internet users, Wal-Mart’s new super discount laptop may be the stepping stone for Linux becoming a household name.
I’ll be heading over to Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve day to check out the Balance laptop and film all of the crazy holiday shopping crowds, if anyone purchases the Linux Balance or has any other recommendations, please email me.