UPDATE: This computer is now listed as SOLD OUT.
This has to be the cheapest computer available today. It is a simple machine, to be sure. A well-known vendor on eBay is selling the Sylvania 7-inch Netbook Wi-Fi Wireless Mobile Internet Device for only $44.99, including FREE shipping to U.S. addresses. It is tiny and easily slips into a purse or an overcoat pocket. It has wireless wi-fi networking built in. It also includes a custom version of Internet Explorer, making it a great device for surfing the web. It includes a simple word processor and an equally simple spreadsheet program.
To be sure, this tiny computer is cheap in every sense of the word. I haven't had my hands on one yet but online reviews state that it doesn't have the greatest keyboard in the world. Also, a seven-inch screen is not suitable for everyone. However, that screen is bigger than the screens on most cell phones and many of us do surf the web and read and write email with our phones.
The low-priced computer also has a three USB ports, a Compact Flash card slot, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. You can save files easily in internal memory as well as on flash drives connected to the USB ports.
At this price, you also should be aware of what is NOT included:
It doesn't run Windows or Macintosh or even Linux. It runs Windows Embedded Compact 7. That is a stripped-down operating system created by Microsoft that looks a lot like Windows but it isn't a true Windows system. Earlier versions of this operating system were called Windows CE.
The system comes with basic software but you cannot easily add new programs. It doesn't run any of the normal Windows software. However, if you can find and download Windows Embedded programs, those programs can be copied and pasted into the Programs folder and then should run. It should be a great computer for cloud-based programs, however.
There is no CD-ROM drive.
There is no floppy disk drive. (Does anyone still use floppies? I don't think that is much of a drawback.)
There is no email software; you have to use the web browser and a web-based email service, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail.
This will be a perfect computer for some people who only want to perform limited tasks. I can envision it as a great device for checking your email or surfing the web from Starbucks. However, anyone with more sophisticated needs should avoid this computer.
The device is on sale "while supplies last." I suspect they will sell out quickly. As I write these words, it is for sale at http://goo.gl/TcKjA.
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