A cut-down version of Windows XP will ship on low-cost PCs in developing Asian markets next October, under a five country pilot program announced yesterday.
OEMs in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will receive Windows XP Starter Edition, featuring pre-configured and localized settings making the operating system easier to use.
Microsoft said a 12 month pilot program would evaluate benefits created to first-time PC users, software and software partners, and participating governments. After the pilot, Microsoft may extend Windows XP Starter Edition to additional markets.
Microsoft is ceding to government initiatives in Thailand and Malaysia whose goal is to build and distribute affordable PCs. The goal of Thailand’s Peoples PC project is to build a $250 desktop and $400 laptop device. However, Microsoft had abstained from the project because of unwillingness to depart from a single price list.
The company said yesterday that Windows XP Starter Edition would be the most affordable Windows operating system offered to date. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Window XP Starter Edition features internet connectivity, security settings found in Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 2, Windows Messenger, Media Player 9, pre-configured settings of features like the firewall, and a maximum display resolution of 800×600. Missing from the operating system is home networking, printer sharing, and the ability to establish multiple user accounts on a single PC.