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Webbook Brings Low-Cost Computing to South Africa

Posted on October 19, 2011
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Vodaphone and Canonical announce its joint project, the Vodacom “Webbook,” a low-cost mobile computer for South Africa that comes with a Freescale IMX 51 processor to lower cost and power consumption. This technical spec makes the Webbook the first mainstream consumer Linux distribution built for the ARM platform.

TechCrunch has interviewed Chris Kenyon, Vice President of Canonical’s OEM Services Group. The Ubuntu-powered Webbook is a product of collaboration between his company and original equipment manufacturers, in this case Vodaphone. According to Kenyon, Vodaphone had a specific product concept in mind and asked Canonical to help with the details, including building and testing a complete Ubuntu 11.10 installation for ARM. Being manufactured for a specific country, the Webbook comes preloaded with links and content relevant to the South African market.

Ubuntu operating system is, as Canonical puts it, “a legal, full-featured, and flexible technology that offers manufacturers and purchasers a real alternative that embraces an operating system, a compelling application stack, and access to the cloud.” Its core mission is to make computing available to all.

Some may scoff the Webbook as a backward device when tablets are all the rage, but many parts of the world continue to struggle to gain access to any computing platform. In South Africa, for example, wired networking is rare but at least its wireless networking has long been established.

Canonical is expecting to ship on more than 10 million Ubuntu-powered devices from brands like Lenovo, Acer and others.

Source: Canonical and Vodaphone, via TechCrunch

 
 

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