RIP Everex. Please Stay Dead
The history of technology is littered with failed companies that had great ideas and wonderful products that just couldn't turn a profit. Many would argue that the Commodore Amiga was better than PCs or Macs in the eighties, but Commodore couldn't get consumers to adopt its platform and pretty-much went out of business. BeOS , a speedy attractive operating system, should have overtaken Windows in the 90s, but Be Inc. was no Microsoft and quickly folded. In the late 90s and early 2000s Handspring PDAs were the shiznit, but they couldn't compete and Palm absorbed them. Unlike Commodore, Be Inc., and Handspring nobody will have fond memories of Everex, a company that talked a big game but produced some of the worst notebooks we've ever tested.
Perhaps this is old news, but we just discovered that Everex, whose CloudBook CE1200V might be the worst netbook ever made, is out of business at least in the Western hemisphere. The Everex USA site unceremoniously states that:
We regret to inform you that Everex is no longer in business. We have closed our operations and are in the process of liquidation of all our assets.
The company's Japanese and Taiwanese sites still appear to be open for business so maybe only the Western world is truly Everex-free. There's no doubt, however, that America has never seen anything like Everex and *hopefully* we won't again.
It's always sad when a tech company closes, because employees lose their jobs, and consumers lose a choice. In this case, while we feel bad for the employees, we are overjoyed for the consuming public that they won't be hoodwinked into buying one of these pieces of garbage. We're also overjoyed that we won't have to review one again.
If you haven't heard of Everex before, count yourself lucky. The company's low-cost notebooks and desktops often sold at Wal-Mart and were often far cheaper than its competitors. Everex was somewhat of a pioneer in that it sold low-cost notebooks long before the downward trend in prices we've seen recently. The reason its products were so inexpensive is that they were cheaply made and you really got what you paid for.
Take the 17-inch Everex StepNote XT5000T, which we reviewed back in April 2007. At a time when 17-inch systems were selling for well over $2,000, the XT5000T was only $899, but it performed below every notebook in the category and came with a chintzy keyboard. Likewise, the StepNote NC1500, which was a mere $487 way back in 2006, but it had the worst performance we'd seen in a long time and misplaced keys.
Perhaps the company's crowning achievement in mediocrity was its CloudBook netbook, which arrived in our office riding a wave of hype and high expectations, only to leave as the most disappointing system we've ever tested. At the time the CloudBook was released in February 2008, it was only the second netbook on the market after ASUS's famous Eee PC. It promised innovations such as a 30GB hard drive (as opposed to the original Eee PC's tiny SSD) and a snazzy version of Linux called gOS.
Unfortunately, it took several minutes to boot, Wi-Fi cut out constantly, and several dialog boxes in the OS were actually located below the screen! Its 4,200 rpm hard drive literally took minutes to load several of its programs. And did we mention its one-of-a-kind touchpad? See our review of the CloudBook for a full bashing.
Undaunted by the negative press for its infamous netbook, Everex announced big plans. Paul C. Kim, the company's marketing director, told us in February 2008 that the company would release a touchscreen CloudBook within 60 days, that the homely system would come in a variety of "nice" colors, and that the company was even considering a 22-inch model! These plans never came to fruition, though we would have loved to have seen the 22-inch netbook.
We certainly appreciate the ambition, though we're sure the unlucky few who spent $399 on CloudBooks would have rather that the company put more effort into its first-gen netbook and less effort into bragging about vaporware.
To be fair, the company did develop an 8.9-inch sequel called the CloudBook Max that, to our knowledge, never made it to market but did hit the show circuit. It sported Wi-Max, a technology that may soon join Everex in the technology graveyard.
And the original CloudBook itself lives on under other names. According to a list on CloudBook UMPC, the CloudBook is just one of many "Nanobooks" using the same Via reference design. In fact, the site recommends that "Countries deprived of Everex Cloudbook might also wish to take a look at other Nanobooks." Fortunately the U.S. is not a "deprived" nation, because Sylvania sells a CloudBook clone under the name "g Netbook." Those nostalgic for early 2008's worst technology or wishing to punish a bad relative by giving it as a gift can find it on Amazon for $207.
While we don't know the exact reasons for Everex's demise, it's safe to say that, in a world where you can get good quality notebooks from respectable companies like Toshiba, HP, Gateway, Dell, and Lenovo for under $600, the only place for cheap garbage is the landfill.
Rest in peace, Everex. But, please, don't rise again!