It seems a Taiwanese company called AOpen, acting at Intel's request, has built a machine that looks very similar to the Mac Mini, in the sense that it looks exactly like the Mac Mini.
Interestingly enough, analysts are pooh-poohing it right out of the gate. Roger Kay of IDC says "I don't think the two -- Mac mini and whatever Intel puts out -- are really in the same market; that is, of course, unless Apple starts running OS X on x86 hardware." Huh? What about all that stuff I read when the Mini came out about it's form factor, it's place as an appliance rather than technology, etc.? Was that all just cover-up for "it has a great OS?"
He also questions whether anyone will be able to market the machine with an Intel Chip & Windows XP and still hit the $499 price point set by Apple. To that point, I say don't underestimate Intel & Microsoft's ability to buy market share. If they think the Mini is going to be a serious challenge, both of those companies are in a position to give these things away and make their money on the peripherals, home networks, and software.
All of this is not to say I think that either product will be all that successful. The Mac Mini will sell like hotcakes for a while, but once it's no longer the newest toy on the block, someone will invent the true computing appliance - one that doesn't require separate KVM's to get them working...
posted by Brian at 11:32 PM