Innovation That Matters

$99 laptop aims to bridge the digital divide


The proverbial $100 laptop has been held up as an ideal for years, but until recently, no actual machine has come even close to that price. Now, however, there’s the Cherrypal Africa, a 7-inch mini laptop that costs just USD 99. Designed with developing countries in mind, the Cherrypal Africa features at least a 400 MHz processor, 256 megabytes of RAM and 2 gigabytes of flash memory. Its screen offers a resolution of 800 by 480 pixels and it can run either Linux or Windows CE. A built-in Lithium battery, meanwhile, can power the machine for up to four hours. Also included in the 1.2kg device are a built-in speaker and microphone. To keep prices low, Cherrypal buys excess inventory, shells with minor cosmetic flaws, discounted limited batches and other high-quality but discounted components and systems, company chairman Max Seybold writes on the company blog. The result, he adds, is that many of the devices actually shipped feature components more powerful than the minimum level promised on the site. The goal, Cherrypal explains, “is to help educate children all around the world so that the digital divide is no longer a divide but a global community of knowledge that everyone has access to. By placing technology within the grasp of people who otherwise would not be able to afford it, we believe that this can make a significant difference.” Indeed, Cherrypal—part of Tristate Hong Kong Group—has already teamed up with the PAAJAF Foundation to build a learning center for children in Accra, Ghana. Since launching the Cherrypal Africa, it has received orders from more than 150 countries around the world. One to sponsor, team up with or otherwise get involved in…? (Related: Internet-in-a-box for areas without electricityOpen-source software for low-bandwidth consumers.) Spotted by: Ruben Feith



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