As its name suggests, Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology delivers electrical power via Ethernet cabling. The technology is typically used to power VoIP phones, wireless LAN access points, cameras and other low power, network-related devices. SkinnyBytes has now announced a line of computers engineered for low voltage and extremely low power consumption that are able to receive all their power over a standard network cable via PoE.

SkinnyBytes calls its PoE computers the ultimate eco-friendly computers, consuming 90 percent less power than a traditional computer. The company offers touchscreen All-In-One (AIO) computers with 15.6- and 18.5-inch screens, as well and a 10.1-inch touchscreen tablet computer. All the SkinnyBytes PoE computers are compatible with the IEEE 802.3at-2009 standard (also called PoE Plus) which provides up to 25.5 W of power over existing CAT5e and above cables.

To create a line of computers that can run on such a meager power supply SkinnyBytes has utilized a variety of low power components, including solid state drives, low-power Intel Atom Processors, LED backlighting, and passive cooling technologies that require no cooling fans. It has also eliminated moving parts which not only cuts down power consumption, but also helps with reliability and durability.

The company says its lineup of PoE computers is particularly suited to classrooms where the need to install new or additional AC power outlets can add 50 percent to the cost of a computer. It also points out the safety advantages of a low-voltage/low-current network cable over a high-voltage/high-current AC outlet in such an environment.

The SkinnyBytes’ systems start at US$699 for the 10.1-inch tablet, while the 15.6-inch AIO system starts at $899. Both are available now, while the 18.5-inch TouchScreen AIO 'Elite' will be available soon for $999. All come with Windows 7 pre-installed.

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