Move Over Netbooks, It's Time for a Nettop

Whether you call them "ultra-portables," "netbooks," or "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Computinis," it can't be denied that the low-cost, lightweight, Linux laptop has taken the technology world by storm. Conspicuously absent, however — perhaps excepting the somewhat ill-fated gPC — is a lightweight desktop for those who live online — until now, that is.

Mandriva — the Parisian Linux outfit behind, of all things, Mandriva Linux — has decided that the days of netbook exclusivity must come to an end, and to that end have partnered up with Precedent Technologies — as far as we can tell an unknown, but up-and-coming, hardware manufacturer — to produce what we hereby dub the nettop. Christened the "TechSurfer," the system will retail at $400 with Mandriva Linux pre-loaded, though there will be a $100 XP/Vista option, and will boast Intel's new Atom chips. TechSurfer is intended as a bare-bones system for those who carry out most of their computing online, focusing on web browsing, multimedia downloads, and messaging services, including Skype's VOIP offerings.

The nettop partners have set an ambitious goal to have the system ready for a U.S. debut in September of this year. We'll keep our ears open for details, especially whether a yellow polka dot option will be forthcoming.

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