AMD's Personal Internet Communicator
January 18, 2005
Apple's recent announcement reminds us of AMD's rather different take on the Mini-PC - their Personal Internet Communicator (PIC).
The PIC is a low cost, sealed fanless PC with pre-installed software designed to help provide 50 percent of the world's population with internet access and computing capabilities by the year 2015 - an initiative dubbed 50x15 by AMD.
AMD's low-power Geode GX processor powers the PIC, which is barely larger than the 3.5 inch hard drive inside its rugged enclosure. The PIC runs Windows CE 5.0, and the entire operating system and software can be reloaded or upgraded through rather clever secure BIOS technology, placing software maintenance in the hands of your friendly neighbourhood service provider.
The PIC comes with enough software for most tasks: a browser supporting Flash; email and messenger clients; MS compatible word processor and spreadsheet, and the ability to view images, multimedia files and several other standard document types.
For this kind of device specifications are secondary to other considerations - but we'll list them anyway. Memory is provided by a single 128MB SODIMM, drive space by a 10GB 3.5in hard drive, the processor is the 366Mhz Geode GX firstname.lastname@example.orgW, and ports provided are: 12V input for external AC adapter; VGA interface; 4 x USB 1.1 ports; 56Kbps V92 Fax/Modem port, and 3 ports for AC'97 audio. That's right - not even Ethernet, but for many people this will be their only computer, and there's always USB.
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