Making It Easier to
Juggle"> The impetus for Project PC came from customer feedback, Microsoft said, with many project managers finding it difficult to juggle project plans, Excel reports, Word documents and other applications at the same time. Alexander said the system costs less than it would if the same components were selected separately. At £1,899 (about $3,500), however, the Project PC costs more than businesses might otherwise spend, with much of the cost accounted for by two 17-inch TFT monitors.One factor that could boost sales of systems such as Project PC is a growing demand for smaller form factors, according to analysts. As companies begin spending on desktops againfour years after the last big desktop replacement cyclemany are choosing machines that are quieter, smaller and easier to manage, said research firm IDC. "Small-form-factor PCs are growing as a percentage of the overall desktop mix," said Andy Brown, IDCs EMEA program manager for mobile computing. "The market is polarizing into minitower and small-form-factor PCs. As with two-spindle, thin and light notebooks, small-form-factor PCs are proving to be the best compromise." Media Center PC, Tablet PC and Project PC arent the only specialized form factors Microsoft is pushing. Last year, for example, Microsoft and HP introduced a communications-oriented system code-named Athens. The prototype, resembling a docked 23-inch Tablet PC, included a phone handset and video camera attached to the units sides, integrating PC, telephone and videoconference functions into one unit. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Other features include a mini-chassis from Hoojum Design, a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor, a 160GB hard drive, a 128MB XFX PCI-E GF6600 graphics card and a DVD+R/-R writer. The system is only on sale in the U.K. for the time being, but Microsoft plans to roll it out elsewhere if it proves to be a success. In the U.K., the system is manufactured by Scan Computers International Ltd.