You pay a monthly fee for your cell phone, cable, and for Internet access, but what about for your computer? Zonbu has created a neat little Linux-running desktop computer that it claims is so energy efficient that it'll save you $10 a month on your electricity bill. It's smaller than a Mac Mini, but is it less expensive? That depends on how long you keep it, because Zonbu plans to charge $13 a month (with plans going up to $20 a month) for the privilege of using your own computer.
The "device" (their term) costs only $99, but if you buy it with a two-year contract and 100 GB of storage space, it'll cost $580 without a screen, keyboard or mouse. That 100-GB figure is deceptive in any case: It doesn't describe the amount of storage space on the computer (only 4 GB flash memory there), but the amount of storage that you get on Zonbu's server. So most of that monthly rate goes to secure online storage space. More info and a pic of the back of the, um, device after the jump.
PC Magazine has published an early review of the system that finds it to be a bit slow but nevertheless workable for everyday Internet browsing. As for us, between feeding Netflix, Verizon, Con Edison, Time Warner, and the landlord every month, we're not really interested in paying for our computer in installments, even if it means putting down more cash up front.