Via: The Little Engine That Could

The Future?

Via is certainly marching to the tune of a different drummer with its new processor.

It chews up practically no power (it’s total power at 1GHz is little more than the increase in power we see from just one speed bump in the Intel/AMD arena. It chews up practically no space (you could easily lose it in a pocketful of change).

The motherboard it’s due to come with is going to be small, too; you might be able to get it in a big pants pocket, which you can hardly do with an Intel/AMD motherboard unless you’re a clown.

OK, it’s not going to be the most powerful thing in the world, but for mundane Joe Sixpack tasks (i.e., occasional webrowsing/email), you could live with it.

In all honesty, I’d rather like to have a cheap computer I could carry around with me when trying to figure out what’s wrong with some relative or friend’s box. Today.

But look ahead a little. Make today’s machine 50-100% faster. Presume one form or another of storage technology that could give you a dozen or two gigabytes of storage without a hard drive’s weight.

What more does the average computer user need? Match it up with an LCD; hell, build it into an LCD, and you have a very nice non-power user home/office machine.

Then you make it cheap (not that Via is expensive now, but really cheap).

That ought to be good enough to attract over 50% of PC sales, if not 80%.

So long as there is no killer app that the average Joe Sixpack or Suit just has to have which requires oodles of computing firepower, small, light, simple will become more and more appealing.

That’s the Via strategy. Via may or may not be able to make it work, but in the long run, somebody’s going to make it work.

It’s the only alternative somebody out to break up the Wintel cartel has. They aren’t going to out-Intel Intel; AMD’s already trying to do that, and in any event, they’re Tweedledum and Tweedledee when it comes to “more, more, more.”

No, the way to take them out is “good enough, smaller and simpler.”

What Via Really Needs…

What Via Really Needs To Do

What Via really needs to make this work is a proper OS for such a machine, one that says, 90% of our users will do three-five things with their computers. Forget Microsoft, they’re just as much propeller-heads as Intel/AMD.

What Via really needs is to do a little reality programming. Take some Linux programmers and a lot more AOLers and put them on an island. If there aren’t enough sharks in the surrounding water, bring in more (some mines wouldn’t hurt).

There is one rule to this game: No one leaves the island alive until the Linux tribe comes up with an OS and application package the AOL tribe is happy with. Should no Linux programmer survive, more will be brought in.

To hurry things up a bit, the AOL tribe will be armed.

The island will have Internet access, but it will be restricted to only www.aol.com and member sites. Email will also be restricted to AOL accounts.

All Linux programmers collaborating on the project will be guaranteed enrollment in the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program to prevent subsequent reprisals.

No doubt sterner measures will be required for success, but let’s reserve kidnapping Linux Torvalds and holding him for code ransom until it becomes necessary.

Wouldn’t you rather watch this than Survivor? 🙂

If the Linux folks ever seriously wanted to destroy Microsoft and soon, this is what they would do. Not come with a Windows me-too; come up with an AOL For SubSentients OS.

A TV That Takes Orders…

A TV That Takes Orders

This is what people want. Average, normal people. We are not average, normal people, any more than race car drivers are average, normal commuters.

Average normal people don’t love computers. They don’t even particularly like them. To them, a computer is an expensive, annoying, break-prone, overcomplicated evil, a necessary evil, but still an evil.

They don’t want dual-core, fluid-cooled, lots-of-bits big boxes.

Instead, they just want something small, simple, quiet and reliable which takes little to no effort to learn and use. They want a TV that will take orders. That’s all. What’s out there now isn’t it, not by a long shot.

It won’t happen tomorrow, or next year, but one of these days in the not-too-distant future, somebody’s going to give them what they want. Via’s building the hardware. Down the road, it’s not inconceivable AMD might stop ramming itself headfirst against the Intel wall following Intel’s rules and try walking around it instead.

For software, if the Linux folks can’t bring themselves to stop being propeller-heads, somebody else eventually will.

And when they do, the computing world as we know it won’t be there any more. Yes, there will be niches of geekdom afterwards where the old rules still apply, but that’s all there will be.

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