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Name: Julian Matthews
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hi. I'm a former journalist and Malaysian correspondent to CNet, ZDnet, Newsbytes (Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive wire agency), Nikkei Electronics Asia and I also previously contributed to The Star, The Edge, The New Straits Times, The New Zealand Herald and various magazines. Currently, I train and advise managers and executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach customers. My company, Trinetizen Media, runs media training workshops on social media, media relations, investor relations, corporate blogging, podcasting, multimedia marketing, online advertising, multimedia journalism and crisis communications. You can connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter.

Monday, November 01, 2004

"We want to change the world..."

When was the last time you heard someone say that in the tech world and cringe. Yeah, yeah, you and me and Eric Clapton. The cynic in me always found such statements wanting. "Can you please qualify that you pathetic piece of marketing shit?," said the Jaded Journalist in the back.

The quote this time was from Dan Shine, AMD Marketing Director, no less. Thanks Catherine of for the heads up.

The story thus far: Intel's only rival AMD has decided to plunge into the zero-margin world of PC manufacturing.

And here is the miracle box that is about to change the world.

Looks like an ugly toolbox doesn't it? It's called the Personal Internet Communicator (PIC). Argh. Just another acronym to add to the dungheap of Oracle's New Internet Computer (NIC) and other such low-cost, near-free PC ideas. The idea of the sub-US$200 PC is not a new one, but why AMD has decided to be the champion of this project is beyond me.

Let's nitpick on the NIC/PIC. Here's the specs:

The PIC device is a box 8.5 inches long and 5.5 inches wide. It consists of an AMD Geode GX 500 processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 3.5-inch 10 GB hard drive, a 56K modem, four USB ports, and one VGA port. For a suggested retail price of $249, purchasers get the central PIC device, a 15-inch monitor, a USB keyboard, a USB mouse, a preinstalled custom version of Windows based on Windows CE, and bundled software including Internet Explorer 6.0, Macromedia Media Flash Player 6, Windows Media Player, PDF document and image viewers, WinZip, a spreadsheet, a word processor, and an instant messaging client.

"It will be manufactured by contract manufacturer Solectron with partners Seagate, Samsung and Macromedia."

What? No Microsoft?

"It will be branded and marketed by in-country service providers, who will focus on leasing and lease-to-buy pricing models for consumers who can't afford the whole sum up front."

You are selling cheap PCs to people who can't afford it?

"The PIC is a sealed device, operates without a fan and can only be upgraded by the service provider, thus reducing the risk of human errors such as the accidental deletion of critical system files."

In short: It's not upgradeable. Oooh. Thanks. Not only can I NOT open it up, you have saved me from my own idiocy of the dreaded disease of the first-time user: Accidental Deletionitis.

"AMD is taking a geo-sensitive approach...."

Target countries are India, Mexico, the Caribbean and maybe Russia, China and Brazil. Just some of the most corrupt nations in the world. They are calling it AMD's 50x15 strategy which is to get 50 percent of the world’s population on the Internet by 2015. My math 50 X 15 = 750. In sq ft, that is the size of the room the AMD marketing dept should be locked up in and the keys chucked away.


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