Walmart.com is selling for $498 the Balance laptop, which runs the Linspire (formerly Lindows) Linux-based operating system. The laptop comes fully equipped with the Linspire 4.5 operating system with a KDE-style GUI, an Internet suite and a Microsoft file-compatible office suite, and can be used with both dial-up modems and broadband connections.
Wal-Mart and Linspire claim that the Balance notebook is the lowest-priced laptop currently on the market to include a complete operating system and office suite.
The laptop comes with a Via C3 1GHz processor and 128MB of RAM, which is expandable to 512MB with SODIMM (Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module). Since Linspire recommends 256MB for optimal performance with Linspire 4.5, upgrading the memory would be a worthwhile option. The laptop also includes a CD-ROM drive, a 30GB hard drive, an RJ-45 Ethernet jack and a 14.1-inch LCD screen.
The package also includes OpenOffice.org, a Microsoft file-compatible office suite, and the Linspire Internet Suite. This software package, based on Mozilla, includes an e-mail client with spam blockers, a Web browser and a built-in firewall.
The laptop also includes a three-month subscription to CNR (Click and Run) Warehouse. This is the companys Web site of Linspire-optimized open-source software.
Continuing its user-friendly marketing approach, Linspire claims that the laptop is easy for new Linux users to use. The Balances Linspire interface is designed to look and feel like Windows.
The systems keyboard includes "hot keys," which gives users one-touch access to e-mail and the Internet. The laptop also comes installed with multimedia tutorials and a Quick Start guide to make setup easy.
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