AOpen Adds Distributors To Deliver XC Cube PCs

The San Jose, Calif.-based maker of barebones PCs and servers has inked distribution pacts with Ingram Micro, Santa Ana, Calif., Tech Data, Clearwater, Fla., and Synnex, Fremont, Calif., to deliver the XC Cube to commercial solution providers.

With the XC Cube, solution providers can create a full-blown digital media PC for less than $1,000.

Among other major digital media PC makers, Dell, Round Rock, Texas, continues to ship direct to end users, and Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, Calif., has opted to ship its entertainment PC mainly into consumer retail channels.

Using Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition operating software, the AOpen system gives system builders the chance to create a full-blown digital media PC for less than $1,000.

"We want to make [the XC Cube] available as a barebones system that those resellers can ride on the bandwagon along with the big guys," said James Chen, AOpen's product manager for the XC Cube systems. Because the systems are barebones, the solution provider or system builder can custom-tailor each system for either corporate or home use.

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"They can build their own Media Center PC, their own spec, their own form factor," Chen said.

The XC Cube began shipping late last year, with AOpen initially shipping them to system builders directly. The deals with Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Synnex will dramatically expand the market and availability of the systems.

Designed with a unique, cube-shaped form factor and a front-panel display, the systems are optimized for the Media Center Edition operating system, as well as the Prescott version of Intel's Pentium 4 processor, Chen said. Even without booting into Windows, though, the device is capable of switching from radio broadcast via a built-in TV/FM tuner to audio CDs, MP3 files or TV programs. In Windows mode, the device provides DVD and VCD playback, personal digital recording and other functions.

One version of the device for distribution, the XC Cube AV EA65-II includes the case, motherboard and power supply. The motherboard is based around the Intel 865G chipset.