Advanced Micro Device announced nationwide availability of the Telmex Internet Box Personal Internet Communicator (PIC) for citizens across Mexico.
Available from AMD since October 2004, The Telmex Internet Box provides Internet hardware, software, Internet service and support. It is available for purchase in Telmex shops all over Mexico and contains the PIC, a monitor, mouse and keyboard. The device comes preloaded with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation viewer, e-mail, media player (photos, music and video), and instant messaging software.
AMD’s 50×15 Initiative includes several PC devices targeted to provide affordable connectivity options around the globe. The PIC is being used by schools, universities, small businesses and consumers worldwide including the Caribbean, India, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Russia.
EE Times lists low cost personal computers designed for underserved regions in the world. We updated their list with some of the newer proposals from Intel, Microsoft, Inveneo and One Laptop Per Child.
Personal Internet Communicator (PIC), by Advanced Micro Devices, is a Standalone PC sold to service providers in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia.Specs:
- GeodeGX 500@1-W processor
- 128 Mbytes of DRAM
- 10-Gbyte, 3.5-inch hard disk
- 56k v.92 fax/modem
- AC’97 Audio
- Four USB 1.1 ports
- One VGA port
- Streamlined version of Windows CE, word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail and browser apps and Acrobat, Flash and image viewers
- Cost: $185 without monitor
- Availability: since October 2004
Terra PC By Via TechnologiesThree branded PCs and thin clients defined initially for China and India. All use existing Via silicon and support Ethernet and/or 802.11 wireless ad hoc mesh networkingSpecs:
- Full-fledged PC based on GHz Celeron-class Via processor with MPEG-2 decoding and graphics
- Cost: $250 without monitor
- Media Station: Thin client with multimedia capabilities
- Availability: June 2005
$100 MIT One Laptop Per Child led by Nicholas Negroponte. Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand have each tendered commitments to purchase 1 million Linux laptops through the U.S.-based program.Specs:
- AMD CPU
- 7.5-inch diagonal screen with pull string for power
- flash-memory disk
- multiple USB ports
- 802.11 wireless ad hoc mesh networking and GPRS
- Cost: $130
- Availability: Late this year
Microsoft’s FlexGo enables a pay-as-you-go model using prepaid cards or a subscription model with monthly payments.Specs:
- Standard Windows machine
- System components within the hardware allow for tracking computer use time, based on minutes of use or a specific end-date.
- Anti-tampering Measures: Include hardware security technologies that make it inconvenient or costly for an individual to tamper with the components
- Interfaces to the Provisioning Server System. New interfaces have been created to connect the operating system to the Microsoft FlexGo provisioning server system.
- Cost: Subscription computing fees vary
- Availability: Unclear
Intel’s Affordable PC: A small, energy efficient system with “full-featured” PC technologies. It will use a low-power Intel processor running either the Linux operating system or Microsoft’s XP Starter Edition, a stripped down version of the Microsoft OS for poorer countries. Intel also plans to extend teacher training to 400,000 teachers in Mexico through the Intel Teach to the Future program by 2010.Specs:
- Windows XP Starter Edition or Linux
- Hard drive as well as built-in graphics, audio, and networking capabilities.
- Four USB 2.0 ports, two PS/2 ports, and a parallel port.
- Cost: around $200
- Availability: Unclear
HP 441 Custom Linux system, part of HP’s E-inclusion program, it’s designed for education and supports four simultaneous users.Specs:
- Celeron or Pentium CPU
- 512 Mbytes to 1 Gbyte of RAM
- 40-Gbyte Sata drive
- 48x CD-ROM drive
- Nvidia Quadro NVS 100 graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Supports four keyboards, mice and 15-inch CRT monitors
- Includes custom version of Mandrake Linux for four users, 70 open-source educational apps, HP educational software
- Cost: ~$1,600
- Availability: since 2004 in South Africa
Inveneo, a non-profit social enterprise, recently announced the availability of its new Inveneo Communications System, designed to provide computing, Internet Access and VoIP telephony for places with little or no access to electricity or affordable communications.Recently, AMD, Wyse, and NGOs Inveneo and ActionAid united to bring solar-powered thin client computing capability and Internet access into several villages in Uganda. These highly reliable, low energy consumption devices are maintained by ActionAid trained local community members.Specs:
- Linux-based Wyse S50 computer
- 64 flash / 128MB RAM
- Works on 12-V dc power source, consuming less than 25 Watts. Can be run on a bicycle-powered generator.
- In standby mode, where only the phone and WiFi link are active, the system uses only 5 Watts of power.
- Outdoor WiFi access points are encased in all-weather coverings for protection against water and dust.
- No fan or moving parts.
Refurbished donated systems From Digital-Links International (London) and others.Specs:
- Pentuim-2 and -3 processors, 233 MHz to 1 GHz
- 64 to 128 Mbytes of DRAM
- 4- to 6-Gbyte hard drive
- Some include CD-ROM drive
- Cost: $75 with monitor and shipping
- Available: now
Jhai PC; Low-power PC delivering VoIP and data service originally developed by non-profits for villages in Laos.Specs:
- ZF Micro 128-MHz 486-class CPU, upgraded to 300-MHz Geode CPU
- 64 Mbytes of RAM
- Works on 12-V dc power source, consuming 20 W average. Can be run on a bicycle-powered generator.
- 802.11b, 96-Mbyte flash-memory storage on PCMCIA cards
- Lao version of Debian Linux; Lao versions of KDE office apps and VoIP program
- 12-inch XVGA LCD
- Dot-matrix printer
- Includes optional moisture-sealed 802.11b radio station and parabolic high-gain antenna
- Separate gateway links VoIP 802.11b net into phone system
- Cost: $2,000 for prototypes designed with volunteered labor and parts; production systems expected to be much cheaper; prototypes cost $2,000 but could reduce to a fraction of that with subsequent generations and volume sales.
- Availability: Systems being tested in Arizona, China and perhaps India this quarter. Final open-source spec expected by yearend.
In other news, The AT&T Foundation today announced a $1 million grant to provide new technology resources for people with all types of disabilities.
The grant to the Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet) is part of a three-year AccessAll initiative by AT&T to provide technology access to underserved communities. It will be used to fund training for community technology center staff on universal design and assistive technology that can be used to accommodate multiple learning styles and abilities.
CTCNet will make the AT&T funds available to regional centers through a competitive application process.