updated 01:35 pm EDT, Wed July 18, 2007
Zonbu Goes Live
Zonbu today officially launched its self-titled 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.
Actual hardware is also designed to be as inexpensive to run as possible. Measuring roughly the size of a Mac mini, the core PC uses an ultra-low voltage Intel CPU and its flash drive to radically cut back on power use and reduce its damage to the environment. 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. Expansion is also just as rich as a full-size desktop with six USB ports, dedicated PS2 keyboard and mouse ports, and a CompactFlash slot for removable flash.
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 Linux-based OS but will receive an update to the final software in the near future.