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Flash Computer + Energy Saving Rental Plan

Subscription-based personal computer with flash memory

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california green energy solutions Subscription-based personal computers are not a new idea--and never popular--but the $99 Zonbu computer will be sold through its Web site, with a $12.95 monthly subscription fee.

Grégoire Gentil and Alain Rossmann have devised a green twist to the rented computer business model.

In summer 2007 the entrepreneurs will sell a Linux-based, 15-watt PC that can save up to $10 a month in electricity compared with a standard 200-watt PC.

The founders sought the highest certification possible from the Green Electronics Council, a nonprofit group that has created a product classification standard known as Epeat (for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool).

The certification program helps consumers make choices when buying computer-related equipment and encourages makers to build products that are more energy efficient and greener for the environment.

The computer is the size of a cigar box and uses a low-power Intel-compatible microprocessor from Via Technologies of Taiwan. It comes with 4GB of flash memory instead of a disk drive, a spinning mechanical part that uses much of a PC's power. It also lacks a fan, another big energy user.

The Zonbu PC comes with a range of software applications like Mozilla Firefox, Skype, OpenOffice software suite and games. 25GB of free online storage is available. The system does not include options: a keyboard, mouse and monitor. A system without a service fee is available to Linux software developers for $250 to encourage applications for the Zonbu PC.

Menlo Park, CA

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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