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$99 Desktop Comes With Too Many Catches

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For just US$99, you can now buy a desktop computer that's preloaded with full versions of 20 popular types of software. This computer comes with free, automatic, online backup of your files and a design that cuts energy use way below that of a standard computer.

It gets better. This new PC, called Zonbu, from a new company of the same name, automatically receives free updates of its software when new versions come out. It doesn't require antivirus or other security programs because it runs on the Linux operating system, which has attracted very few viruses or spyware programs. Also, it takes up almost no room -- it's a tiny little box.

However, there's a catch -- several catches, in fact. Some have to do with the machine's design and pricing, and others with its performance. Taken together, they prevent me from recommending this computer, despite its intriguing price and concept.

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