Even priced as little as $300, a dedicated Internet PC for the home just doesn't provide the power that users want, said Rob Olstad, director of consumer product development at Acer America, the U.S. arm of one of the largest computer manufacturers worldwide.
"I'm not saying other [companies] won't do it. They will. But $500 is a lot to justify for essentially one function," he added. That "one" function would be receiving Internet email and browsing the Web.
Acer is leaning toward marketing a PC in the United States that hooks up to a TV and has "a reasonable level of processing power." The device would offer a host of functions, including Internet access, games, and general Windows application software.
The company is also doing exploratory work and looking at platforms like Bandai Digital Entertainment's Pippin, Olstad said, "but we want to make sure the [software] content is there."
Acer is planning to market a $500 AcerBasic PC with an external hard disk drive and running Window 3.1, but not in North America.