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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

iToaster Aims to Be Easy PC




NEW YORK -- Computer companies have long promised that computers would someday be as easy to use as ordinary kitchen appliances, but so far they have failed to deliver anything close.


But last week, Microworkz.com, a maker of low-price PCs in Seattle, introduced a computer it contends is as easy to use as a toaster oven and aptly named it the iToaster.


What makes the device different is that it does not use Windows. Instead, its operating system is a hybrid of Linux, the popular public domain operating system, and the BeOS, an operating system created by a former Apple executive.


The result, says Rick Latman, chief executive of Microworkz, is a combination word-processing, home-finance and web-browsing machine that has a graphic interface like Windows but is far simpler to use.


It does not replace a Windows machine, Latman said. It is for people who cannot or do not want to use a personal computer.


At $199, it is also considerably cheaper than most Windows machines except for Microworkz's own Webzter Jr. PC, which is priced at $299.


Latman said 10,000 iToasters would be available for purchase directly from Microworkz.com beginning July 15, and they will be in retail stores by December.


Of course, the iToaster cannot run standard software, nor can it do complex computations.


For those reasons alone it may not find the ready audience that Latman expects. It can, however, print to any Hewlett-Packard or Epson Stylus printer, and it has a detached keyboard for word processing, features which certainly improve its chances.