Kiwi PC: A Desktop Designed Just for Seniors

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

It's tough raising parents (and grandparents) these days. They want to be online, to surf the Web and send e-mail, but some just can't get the knack of using Windows. Others are constantly getting stung by spyware and viruses.

Enter the Kiwi PC, a Linux-powered desktop designed especially for seniors. It features a color-coded keyboard, a 19-inch monitor, a simplified interface, and, perhaps best of all, toll-free phone support that's available 24/7.

The system's specs aren't great, but they're probably sufficient given the intended audience. A mini-desktop case houses a 1.66GHz Atom processor (same as what you find in many netbooks), 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and a DVD burner. There's no Wi-Fi adapter, so you'll need to set up a wired connection to the router or broadband modem.

Kiwi supplies a customized version of Ubuntu Linux 10.10 (which has much lower system requirements than Windows, and therefore can run at a decent clip on the system's modest hardware). An oversized, visual toolbar provides quick and easy access to things like the Web, e-mail, chat, and social networks. Here's a bit more explanation from the company's site:

The preinstalled "Evolution Mail" on KiWi PC allows users to integrate their Yahoo!, Gmail, MSN, AOL or any other email accounts making chatting and emailing a snap. Additionally, the base operating system comes with a "Software Centre" which offers hundreds of free downloadable applications.

This reminds me a lot of the Jolicloud OS (which was recently renamed "Joli OS"), a Linux variant designed to run on netbooks. And because this is indeed a kind of Linux, the chances of any kind of malware trouble are tiny.

The Kiwi PC sells for $499.99, shipping included. That's pretty steep: You could buy similar hardware for hundreds of dollars less. Of course, it wouldn't have the senior-friendly operating system or the 24/7 support (which, ostensibly, is senior-friendly as well). Given that there's a 30-day money-back guarantee, this might be a worthwhile option for elderly and/or technology-challenged users.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon