Who knew the day would come when Bandai would take a dip into netbooks? If I’d heard that a few months ago I’d have absolutely no idea what to expect, but given the lengths to which Japanese manufacturers will go to produce a machine with copious branding (see: Hello Kitty netbook), nothing is unexpected anymore.
And thus comes the latest in a line of hilariously flashy, eccentric, and extremely Japanese netbooks: the Gachapin and Mukku Ultramobile PC.
If you can bear to tear your eyes from the retina-burning neon green of the netbook, you’ll notice the glum-looking face in the wallpaper. That’s Gachapin, the green dinosaur whose sing-along antics have attracted the love and money of the latest generation of Japanese children. The horrified-looking furry thing is Mukku, Gachapin’s red Yeti sidekick.
The machine is designed to be kid-friendly, in classic OLPC style. I highly doubt any adult could get serious work done on such a garishly-bedecked device, anyway. Japan really loves cute branding, and who can blame the CEOs responsible? If netbooks were around when I was seven, I’d have taken Gachapin over the comparatively boring Classmate PC any day of the week.
The netbook isn’t kiddie when it comes to hardware, though. Beneath the cutesy exterior lie the components of a competitive machine, running the “N270 Intel Atom processor (1.60 Ghz), a 120GB HDD, Wifi, a webcam, a One-Seg digital TV tuner with an antenna, a webcam and a 8.9 TFT screen with 1,024×600 resolution.”
From the moment you boot up the netbook, Gachapin’s voice will boom from the speakers in an effort to propagandize you into being more efficient: “Goood morning! Goooood morning! Let’s try to work hard today!”
The Gachapin and Mukku Ultramobile PC will be out in Japan this March, for a pricetag as frightening as the monster himself: US $880.