The Eway TUHere’s a picture of the Eway TU, which is one of the PCs being brought in for the ten thousand peso computer initiative of the CICT, the PC4All program. Yes, that’s a full PC right there, and it’s that tiny. The dimensions are just slightly bigger than the mouse.

The secret to the TU’s tiny form factor is that it’s a solid state PC. No hard drive — you boot from a CompactFlash memory card, or perhaps even from your thumb drive; the power supply is an external adapter; and the CPU is slow enough to require only passive cooling.

So in case it wasn’t obvious, no, this won’t run Windows Vista. Certainly not with its 200MHz VIA processor and 128MB of RAM. But toss in a tiny OS (in this case Puppy Linux), and it’s amazing what this pocketable device can do. For typical school uses, such as word processing, spreadsheets, image manipulation (thank you GIMP) and surfing the internet, this tiny PC box is more than adequate.

There are other PC units that the CICT will be bringing in as well, all of which would cost ten thousand pesos at most, inclusive of monitor. There’s the Eway TK, which is slightly bigger than the TU but has an 800MHz CPU; the 400MHz VIA ITC34EEL; and the tiny Redfox AMD Geode LX800 unit which surprisingly already comes with a hard drive and 256MB of DDR RAM.

I have to admit to feeling a pinch of envy for the institutions that will eventually be getting these units, all of which have tiny footprints, cost so little, and use just around 20 watts or so of power.

Of course, the next problem is making sure that these units don’t get stolen from the schools and institutions where they’re going to. I’d feel more comfy if these things came with Kensington locks…