TECH TALK: Computing for the Next Billion: Intels Billion

ZDNet reported on Intels emerging market plans:

Intel will spend more than $1 billion during the next five years to help bring computers, training and Internet connectivity to emerging nations.

Called the World Ahead program, the effort essentially expands on other programs Intel has conducted to bring computing to countries like India and China, particularly to people who live in small cities and villages. Though India has become a software powerhouse, it’s estimated that the country a year ago had only 14 PCs for every 1,000 people.

Intel will provide equipment under the program as well as teacher training.
The program will also let the company lay some of the groundwork for future sales as the markets in these nations mature. Intel, after all, entered China back in the 1980s and was able to capitalize on the growth of the tech industry in that country.

Intels World Ahead site elaborates: In the next five years, Intel plans to invest more than USD 1 billion to support this endeavor. The main five-year goals of the World Ahead Program are to extend wireless broadband PC access to the world’s next billion users while training 10 million more teachers on the use of technology in education, with the possibility of reaching another 1 billion students.

The programme was launched by Intel CEO Paul Otellini in a recent visit to India. The Hindu wrote:

Launching the programme, Mr. Otellini said the other India-centric angle, was in the very creation of the products to fuel “World Ahead”: Intel’s Bangalore-based platform definition centre one of only four worldwide has designed and developed three different computing platforms: a rugged community shared PC working off a car battery; a low cost-full feature PC with an extremely small form factor that would be available within two months from five different Indian manufacturers at prices at least 20 per cent cheaper than comparable configuration and a students’ notebook PC, the “ClassMate”, that will be manufactured by partners worldwide next year, under the company’s “Eduwise” initiative for schools.

When it came to the connectivity to reach the Indian households now untouched by computers and the Internet, Mr. Otellini saw WiMax as the way to go. “This is the best solution for low cost, high bandwidth access to telemedicine and e-learning resources”, he said. He added that the company was cooperating with over 14 WiMax trials now being carried out in India by service providers like BSNL, Tata-VSNL, Bharti, Sify and others.

Tomorrow: Microsofts FlexGo

TECH TALK Computing for the Next Billion+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.