Posted by: nickgerlich | November 3, 2007

Lean and Green

The cell phone industry has an interesting model. In most situations, the providers sell you the phone very cheaply, or perhaps even give it to you. Of course, the kicker is that you have to sign a service contract for up to two years. It’s the razor blade and razor phenomenon all of again. One will not work without the other. And just try to get another phone out of them before your contract period ends if you happen to lose or break yours (unless, of course, you are savvy enough to buy a cheap replacement phone on your own, and then simply swap out the SIM card!).

Now imagine a cell phone service contract applied to personal computers. Sounds kind of far-fetched, but that is exactly what the folks at Zonbu are doing.

ZonbuFor as little as $99 and $12.95 (and up) per month thereafter, you can snag one of their slimline PCs and reap the benefits of a bundle of open-source software and service on the device (including an overnight replacement if you push yours off the table). Their web-based storage allows you access to your files from anywhere, even if you leave the Zonbu at home.

And in an effort to please Al Gore, Zonbu’s computer uses but 10% the energy that a standard desktop unit consumes.

Actually, the Zonbu is mostly just an access point, as it has no hard drives. You need to have a broadband connection. It is still a computer in the strictest sense, but everything is stored externally. Not needing fans to cool your hard drive keeps the energy consumption at bay.

Another thing I like about the system is that it allows families to put computer workstations in virtually every room of the house, at a low price, and with a small footprint. I’m thinking kitchen…kids bedroom…TV room, you name it.

Still, you do need to add your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Which then brings up an important opposition: Doesn’t Dell already make a cheap PC complete with all these peripherals? Yes they do, but they don’t bundle it with the ongoing support and web storage.

And yet another opposition: I can get unlimited web storage for about $50 per year elsewhere, while Zonbu charges $19.95 monthly for just 100GB.

Truthfully, the Zonbu is not for everyone. If you are a power user, are confident in all aspects of running your machine(s), and need lots of web storage, I would look elsewhere. But if you are a computer rookie and/or someone simply looking for a cheap get-it-up-and-running solution, then this looks like a great option.

I just wonder if Al Gore has his house networked with these little green babies.

Dr “Politically Incorrect” Gerlich


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: