IBM, Canonical and Simmtronics today announced they will market a low-cost, Intel Atom-based Simmtronics netbook in emerging markets. The Simmbook will be preloaded with the IBM Client for Smart Work Linux distro, based on Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and will first be made available in Africa for just $190, says IBM.
In addition to Africa, the Linux-ready Simmbook will also be available in India, Thailand, and Vietnam, says IBM. The Simmbook is preloaded with IBM Client for Smart Work, which includes IBM Lotus Symphony, access to IBM LotusLive cloud collaboration services, and the choice of adding other IBM Lotus collaboration software such as Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime, says the company.
Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04, showing new EFL-based 2D launcher
IBM Client for Smart Work is touted as a way to help companies save up to 50 percent per seat on software costs versus a Microsoft-based desktop. The cost savings are based on the fact that users can run a combination of Web-based applications and Linux on their existing PCs, netbooks, and thin client.
The Simmtronics Simbook is a standard-issue 10.1-inch netbook, notable primarily for the fact that it is offered with Ubuntu instead of just Windows. The 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU is combined with a 82945GSE northbridge and ICH7M controller, as well as 1GB of DDR2 RAM, says Simmtronics. An SD memory card reader is available, along with a 160GB SATA hard disk drive (HDD), expandable to 500GB, says the company.
Simmbook in red
The announcement was made in South Africa, which appears to be the initial target of the netbook package. Ubuntu founder and South African native Mark Shuttleworth explains in the video below how cloud computing is particularly suitable to emerging nations. He notes, however, that an important next step in the Client for Smart Work initiative is to provide the infrastructure in emerging countries for "pervasive bandwidth."
Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth in YouTube video on deploying Client for Smart Work in Africa
(Source: YouTube) (Click to enlarge)
Stated Clifford Foster, IBM sub-Saharan CTO, "CIO's, IT directors and IT architects from all type of organizations in South Africa — even those that typically cannot afford new, expensive personal computers — can now legitimately consider netbooks instead of PCs for business use." Stated
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, "It's exciting to see how computing is changing the lives of people in Africa and the new Simmbook provides a real testament of how important it is to get low-cost computing into Africa's economy."
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