Though many customers use our PCs as thin clients, I've always been a fan of stand alone desktops, and preferred to think of our E2 as a "medium client", able to function as an adequate PC for individual users or for customers who weren't familiar with configuring and managing a server. But the definition of adequate has changed since then, and with YouTube now a killer app we wanted to look at alternatives that could match its power consumption.
The U5 is is powered by a 2 x 1.6GHz Intel Atom processors, has 2GB of high speed RAM, and is equipped with 5 VGA ports thanks to the PCI graphics cards we've added. It's still small and good looking, and practically silent. Most importantly, it's designed to run our partner Userful's Desktop Multiplier software (on top of the Ubuntu 8.10 OS).
Virtualization has conquered the server room, where expensive hardware no longer sits idle at 10% CPU utilization running one application but instead is maxed out to save both upfront hardware and ongoing electricity costs.
Userful's software offers a smarter solution to classroom computing: instead of taking low-end spec PCs that use 8 Watts, you have one high-spec system cleverly shared over 5 monitors. Same power consumption per seat but disproportionately better value.
Either go for value with popular TFTs that have been massively price reduced by consumer demand in the West - such as the Hannspree HW173AB (1440x900 res).
Or, since the U5 has a 12V DC Input, keep the entire classroom on DC power by using 10.4" touchscreen TFTs that use just 10W. The latter means we can offer the U5 with 5 monitors, an 80 Watt Folding Solar Panel, and a 100Ah carbon fiber leisure battery as a "Solar School Lab in a Crate".
The U5 will cost $490 to government or education customers, and $550 to businesses. You'll need Userful licenses ($69 for education, $99 for business) which we can supply.
For an extra $15 each, you get a USB and audio hub that sits beneath each monitor (with USB A extension cable plugging into the U5).
I bought the original Mac Mini, when it had a 1.1GHz Power PC processor and a decent 256MB RAM because I'd always pined for a portable desktop and remember the wow factor people experienced seeing it in the flesh.
Thought it's by far the least successful of Apple's line up, it has become the defacto small desktop.
Of course, we aim to disrupt that minor hegemony with our B1 which has 4GB of faster ram, a much faster dual core CPU (or even Phenom Quad Core), up to 500GB drive (250GB 7200RPM as standard), and onboard ATI 3200 chipset (with HDMI and DVI output) as well as 2 eSATA ports for real (not USB) RAID and dual gigabit LAN. All for a measly £450 ex VAT.