I founded Aleutia to produce a mesh-networked, ultra low power, QWERTY-equipped handheld PC aimed at the rural African market and with a pricepoint of $20. Ambition was free email (TCP/IP over long-range 802.15.4) and basic information services in areas that had zero infrastructure.
Expertise was beyond us and we started scrambling for a product (money was running out).
Exhaustive googling found us a fanless thin client from DMP, a Taiwanese company. Add Puppy Linux and you could repurpose it as a crummy, but adequate PC with just 8 Watts power consumption.
We launched the successor in February 08 (500MHz CPU, 512MB RAM up from 200MHz and 128MB) and I based the company around it. We'd add value by keeping stock, speaking English, taking credit card payments and selling individual units rather than requiring bank transfers and minimum order values of $4000. Prices went up, not down which should never happen in (semi)commodity technology. Excuse was a weak dollar. Dollar came back with fury. Prices stayed the same.
But the form factor was great and we'd sold the E2 in 48 countries. A eBox-3300 was in the works - 1.0GHz CPU, 256MB RAM and just $100 from DMP. And only 5W. The VIA processor swapped for a proprietary (why?) CPU from DMP. And an IDE controller unrecognized by Linux without a complicated kernel patch. A new revision with 512MB RAM ($110) was supposed to fix this but failed to.
As a result, we've decided to drop DMP products from our website and sales channels. Will still honour warranty but anyone interested should contact either:
WDL Systems of North Carolina. Keeps stock but doesn't provide software/OS.
Green Gadgets Ltd. of Israel. Keeps stock and can help spec up solutions, enable Linux.
From now everything we sell is our own. Mini-itx or smaller, except for servers.
Keep everything 12V for our customers off the grid or do even better by offering wide-input DC voltage (6-26 Volts).
As few moving parts as possible and no remaining focus on appallingly slow processors and IDE interfaces.
To all considering a DMP eBox, I'd strongly recommend the T1 which is fanless and 12V but has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU (N270, same as in Netbooks), up to 2GB RAM, SATA-II SSD, and is still VESA-mountable. All with power consumption of 14W.