Intel announced yesterday the "Discover the PC" initiative to make the benefits of PC technology more broadly available to people in developing nations.
The initiative focuses on delivering products and technologies that designed to meet the needs of people in developing countries. The Discover the PC initiative supplements existing Intel programs in education, investments in local technology industry infrastructure and other ongoing efforts designed to encourage technology adoption around the world.
As part of the initiative, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini introduced today in Mexico a new low-cost desktop PC platform available to first time computer users. The new PC design has an easy-to-use interface designed to introduce a new set of people to the world of technology for the first time. It is a small form-factor and energy efficient product suitable for dense living environments. It provides access to the full range of PC applications and experiences that allow people to find new ways to learn, communicate, work and play.
The PC will be available through governments and telecommunications companies that will work to deliver it to people who previously did not have access to a PC or the means to own one. Initially, Intel plans to make them available through government agencies and telecommunications companies in Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria, with expansion to other countries later in the year. By joining with government agencies and telecommunications partners that would provide Internet access, the computing platform will offer all the features of a PC available today while being sold significantly below typical PC prices. The prices will differ by country based on local PC prices and family incomes.
A second product that is part of the Discover the PC initiative was introduced earlier this week in India as the Intel-powered Community PC. The PC was developed specifically to meet the Internet access needs of rural villages and communities.
The Community PC platform was defined by Intel after intensive ethnographic studies in rural India showed that a clear desire for technology access exists in remote rural communities where even a single PC can serve many people. Unfortunately, weather conditions (heat, dust, humidity) and unreliable power sources can compromise typical PCs used in such environments.
To address these issues, the Intel-powered Community PC platform was developed to be a fully functional, expandable and shared-access computing solution. It is a highly reliable, manageable system that supports remote diagnostics and control features under low power requirements. Included among the unique features are: a ruggedized chassis to withstand dusty conditions, varying temperatures and high humidity; a customized power supply unit that allows the PC to maintain continuous load power in the event of a power outage; and simple, one-button system recovery in case of PC failure.
Intel is working with industry partners to deploy the Community PC in Internet kiosks common in rural villages in India. The kiosks are operated by local entrepreneurs and provide neighboring communities with access to e-Government forms (e.g. land records and marriage licenses) and other services. Though initially designed for India, the platform has generated interest from other countries with similar environmental concerns, and is expected to be expanded to other countries in the near future.
Current plans for the Discover the PC initiative involve defining and developing additional products that address other unique requirements in the developing nations. For example, the company is currently developing a prototype of a small form factor laptop PC that incorporates unique software and hardware features to serve educational needs.