Zonbu PC, a concept it hopes will break the pattern of big, expensive, and power-hungry desktops. As previewed in May, the company offsets the initial costs of most PCs by shifting most of the storage demands from the computer to the Internet. While the PC itself only contains a 4GB flash drive, the optional subscriptions offer between 25GB and 100GB of online data; the space hosts much of the user’s apps, updates, and normal working data, guaranteeing that receiving a replacement system will never mean losing crucial information.
The box is pre-loaded with a host of open source freeware — Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice, Skype, etc. – all supported online. That includes online backup.
There’s no floppy disk, no external drives of any kind. Just plug in your current keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, up to six USB devices, and you’re good to go.
Zonbu combines a host of trends — Internet computing, open source, cellular business models, laptop design, SaaS – in one box. It will be fun to see if this takes off.
The total PC draws a fraction of the average desktop’s energy at 15 watts, saving users roughly $10 per month in power. Carbon dioxide emission also drops by roughly one ton per year and is effectively reduced completely through the company’s carbon offset program.
Pricing changes depending on contracts: the $99 up-front cost comes with a two-year subscription to any of the online plans, which range between $13 and $20 per month depending on storage. Buyers can reduce the commitment to one year by buying the PC for $199 and can purchase the system outright without online backup for $249. Systems are ready today with a beta version of Zonbu’s custom