Gregoire of Zonbu recently posted an update to the Zonbu support site at http://www.zonbu.com/support/
They are lowering the price to $10/month, waving cancellation fees and hoping to get out an OS update some time in March which will include FireFox 3 (finally).
Without quesiton, they are struggling. The market has changed dramatically since they launched and we started tracking them. There are now dozens of low cost/low power netbooks. Linux and Windows XP are popular OS choices and the economy has contracted substantially.
On the positive side, the unit I put in our lobby for public use has given us not a single day of issue in almost an entire year. Previously we had to re-do the windows box about every 90 days for various reasons, so it clearly makes a good kiosk for basic web browsing. However, the low CPU power and poor video playback limits the viability for anything serious. I have long said a board based on the AMD 780G with the strong built in graphics would completley change the game for Zonbu (although up the power consumption). We’ll see if there is a new hardware generation coming.
Personally, I’m hanging on to my subscription because I want to see how they do. If the new release is as solid as the current one, it will be a welcome improvement and very usable. At the same time, I had to admit I have installed XP on a seperate compact flash card and I’m playing around with other uses for my quiet and low power hardware, in case the Zonbu thing doesn’t play out.
Here is the full update from the Zonbu site…
“Updated pricing and 2009 plans — by Gregoire Gentil on 01/29/09.
From its inception, Zonbu has been a pioneer in next generation computing. Our products are some of the most environmentally friendly available, requiring far less power than most computers. In addition, our Zonbu Plus service has provided our customers with completely transparent data backups and online access, taking cloud computing to the next level. With our innovative architecture, we have provided 100% storage uptime for the past 18 months and have reached a 99.99% file recovery level.
As a young company, we have found ourselves susceptible to the recent economic downturn. We had to reorganize ourselves, and it became difficult to put the finishing touches on the 2008 beta version, and turn into an official OS update, which was originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2008.
We realize that this has been a disappointment to some of our customers. We also realize that many of our customers are themselves being forced to cut back because of the economy. Therefore:
* We are cutting the monthly fee for all of our subscription plans to $9.95 per month, retroactive as of 1/15/2009.
* We are also waiving all cancellations fees for the Zonbu service. Although we hate to see them leave, any customer, regardless of whatever commitment they may have, may cancel without a penalty.
If you’re deciding whether or not to stay with Zonbu, don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere. We are committed to continuing to provide OS maintenance as well as top-notch technical support for our existing customers. We are working on an OS update to be released in March that will include Firefox 3 and OpenOffice.org 3.0, as well as many other features. Any customer experiencing difficulties should contact our Help Desk. Thank you for choosing Zonbu.”