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KiWi PC aims to sell Linux-loaded PCs to senior citizens

What is the most user-friendly operating system in use today: Windows 7 or Mac OS X? Well, it seems that KiWi PC's answer to that question will be a resounding 'none'.  Apparently, the American OEM which claims to specialize in selling senior citizen-friendly PCs believes that Ubuntu is the OS users should be looking for if one intends to get aged people started on the digital life the younger generation takes for granted today. To that end, it has even rolled out its own KiWi PC for sale that is aimed squarely at senior citizens.

When it comes to building a PC meant to be used by an ageing senior citizen, it goes without saying that raw performance and power is no longer the top priority. Instead, you'd want such a PC to be as user-friendly as possible, if only just to ensure that you do not receive phone calls late into the wee hours of the day from the user asking for help over simple issues such as how to press the 'Any' key.

Needless to say, the OS used in such PCs play an extremely important part in ensuring that senior citizens feel right at home with their PCs at all times. And while most people will swear by Windows 7 or Mac OS X as the ideal operating system for such users, an American OEM which specializes in making PCs for aged users believes that there exists only one OS which is suitable for senior citizen use. Enter the KiWi PC, a senior citizen-friendly nettop PC which runs of….Linux. Or more specifically, a Linux distribution known as Ubuntu.

According to KiWi PC, the Linux-based PC which is currently being sold under the same name as the OEM which assembled it will be pre-loaded with a customized version of Ubuntu 10.10. The website goes on to claim that the customizations made to the operating system include a certain Me Menu which provides easy access to often-visited websites and programs straight from the desktop. KiWi PC also states that the Me Menu will be completely customizable, and that the font size has been increased to make onscreen text more readable for senior citizens. 

On the hardware side, the KiWi PC does not feature impressive specs, although this is understandable if one takes into consideration its nettop nature and the variety of tasks its intended user base might use it for. Powering the nettop is Intel's Atom processor clocked at 1.66GHz and 2GB of DDR3 memory, while the other essentials include a DVD-RW drive, a 250GB hard disk for storage purposes and onboard Intel GMA 3150 graphics. Internet connectivity is achieved via an Ethernet connection which is handled by the motherboard's onboard Realtek controller.

Last but definitely not least, the KiWi PC comes bundled with a 19-inch monitor for complete out-of-the-box functionality, and 24/7 tech support ensures that senior citizens do not have to call up their children every few minutes just to learn how to navigate a Linux desktop.

That being said, the user interface found on the customized Ubuntu 10.10 Linux distribution does not appear to be anything more than a slightly tweaked version of the Unity desktop environment. Which, for those who are unfamiliar with the Ubuntu distribution, is currently an an experimental user interface ported over from the netbook versions of the operating system. While it is debatable as to just how much user-friendlier a PC can get by ditching Windows for a Linux distribution, users will be hard pressed to deny that they can rest easy at night knowing that they will not have to deal with phone calls from parents asking for help in disinfecting their PCs from various Windows-specific malware.

If that sounds like the kind of PC you'd want to set up for your parents, perhaps you'd want to start saving. This is because the KiWi PC is not going to be the cheapest nettop in the market with its retail price of US$499.99.

Source: KiWi PC

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