gOS coming to more devices--including an ePC competitor

New version, "Rocket," to come preinstalled on desktop, mini PC, laptop, and ultra-small notebook.

gOS, the Linux-based operating environment that Everex put on its low-priced gPCs it sold at Wal-Mart Stores, is getting a nice little update and support by more Everex computers, including one ultra-tiny laptop.

Asus ePC, meet your new competitor, the Everex CloudBook

See our first gOS review: Almost the Google PC.

The 2.0 version of gOS, or "Rocket," has a freshened user interface with a few new features, such as a multiple desktop switcher. It also has support for Google Gears, so you can use the few offline/online apps that support it on the gOS devices. Currently, Google Reader is Gears-enabled, as is Zoho Writer and Remember The Milk. Unfortunately, Google's GMail, Calendar, and the Docs suite are still online-only. (We expect updates this year; GMail and Calendar first.)

Rocket also comes with the first gOS-built app, gBooth, a simple Webcam photo studio. The app will also be sold in a bundle with a Webcam and will be called meeBooth; it will work on Windows as well as the gOS.

Soon to come: support for Mozilla Weave Prism (correcting previous error), which is basically the Firefox browser without its toolbars--a nice framework for Web apps.

On the hardware side, the $199 gPC is getting updated with new plastics. It will be joined by a slick mini PC priced at $499 and a $399 notebook with a 15.4-inch screen, the gBook. All of the gOS machines are powered by Via chips, except the mini, which gets a dual-core Pentium (not Core 2 Duo).

The real news, though, is the Everex CloudBook, a 2-pound ultra-small laptop with a 7-inch screen, a 30GB hard drive, a Webcam, and good connectivity (Wi-Fi, 3 USB ports, a 4-in-1 card reader). It "out-specs" the Asus ePC, according to Everex, and will sell for $399 when it shows up at Wal-Mart on January 20.

These are all real computers. They may not run XP or Vista or OS X, but you can do real work and participate fully on Web apps with any of them. And they're selling at Wal-Mart. One has to wonder for how long people will continue to buy machines that are massively overpowered just so they can run Vista--an operating system that we're going to need less and less as more and more of our applications move onto the Web.

 

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