Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The greatest, most glamourous, genuine, glorified

I used to be excited by this kind of thing. Now, I find it more than a bit sad. AOpen Inc. is showing off at the Computex trade show in Taipei a small desktop PC that closely resembles Apple’s Mac mini except for the use of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system and Intel’s Pentium M processor. The AOpen product, which is modeled on its XC Cube product line and is being shown at Intel Corp.’s booth, is part of a larger effort backed by Intel to promote the use of the Pentium M processor in small PCs designed for living rooms and entertainment centers, an Intel spokeswoman said. The company is working with several PC manufacturers and vendors on similar PCs, which should be released later this year, she said. The AOpen “Mini PC” touts a DVD-RW drive, 802.11 a/b/g wireless networking and support for Bluetooth. It also features DVI, S-Video and component video support, making it capable of connecting to an HDTV, plasma display or large screen display panel, according to the manufacturer. It measures 5.9 inches square and 1.97 inches tall, almost the same size but just slightly smaller than the Mac mini. Likewise this, the "better" OEM clone of the iPod Shuffle, reviewed in all its squalor: The iPodlounger said the Super Tangent is “worse than you could believe” and that “every detail is wrong.” He said the player cost about US$115 and that the buttons do not work well, battery life is “terrible,” and the recorder simply did not record. The reader also said that the LEDs do not shine through the casing properly, and that it doesn’t fit well in a USB port. “There is nothing that works even close to right,” he said. Of course, having an actual near-top-of-the-line PowerMac (with the zippy-fast loveliness that is OSX Tiger), as well as an authentic 3G iPod, will tend to make one dismissive of coy Apple knockoffs. I know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when done so pathetically, it's practically an industry-wide cry for help.

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