New marketing trend

We’ve all been hearing about the sub-$1000 personal computer, which until a few months ago usually meant a PC for under $1,000 U.S. Now one of Canada’s largest “clone” manufacturers has joined up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to offer a deal (with a small catch) that could work very well for those who want to upgrade their computer at a very low price.

The “Enternet” PC is available for a lot less than $1,000, U.S. or Canadian. In fact, it sells for $499 from IPC. The catch? Well, there are two, actually: you don’t get a monitor (which you likely don’t want if you already have a functional and reasonably recent model) and you have to sign up for two years of Internet service with manufacturer IPC’s partner, Internet Direct.

The computer, which has respectable specs (Celeron 333 processor, 32 MB RAM, 3 G hard drive, 56k modem, 24X CD ROM) comes pre-configured to sign you up with Internet Direct, and logs you on automatically with that service.

For those who are don’t care if they switch ISPs and simply want a very inexpensive upgrade, the IPC offer makes a lot of sense. At $499, you can use your old computer for a doorstop and still be ahead of the me. But remember, you have to sign on with Internet Direct for a full two years (at $24.95 per month for unlimited Internet service) to get the $499 deal.