Green Atom PC Launched To Tackle Digital Divide


Cherrypal, a socially conscious, green PC maker, introduces a $99 (£61) netbook with an Intel Atom processor

Cherrypal, a deliciously named and reportedly socially conscious PC maker, announced two new products on 15 Dec: a 7-inch netbook with a tempting $99 price tag, and a redesign of its 13.3-inch Bing laptop.

The $99 (£61) netbook is geared toward developing networks and called the Cherrypal Africa, a tribute, the company said, to its “recent community-building initiative in Ghana.” The 7-incher features a 400MHz processor, 256GB of RAM and 2GB of flash memory and can run Windows CE or Linux operating systems.

The Cherrypal Africa isn’t only user- and wallet-friendly, according to the company, but also does well by the environment. “Cherrypal designs all of its computers to consume the least amount of power possible, while using fewer parts than other manufacturers,” the company said in a statement on 15 Dec. “This saves electricity and keeps excess computer byproducts out of landfills. The company is also aware of its own carbon footprint and relies on wind energy to power its Website.”

Additionally, Cherrypal has a social mission. “At Cherrypal, we’re extremely conscious of the so-called ‘digital divide,'” said Max Seybold, the company’s founder. “We’re constantly looking for ways to bridge that gap, and the Cherrypal Africa is a huge step in the right direction.”

In a frank post on the Cherrypal blog 14 Dec, the company said, “There are still more than 15 million Americans who can’t afford [a personal] laptop, who have to go to a public library or live without access to the Internet at all, which is becoming increasingly difficult. … The Cherrypal is not a fancy system. It’s small, just [a 7-inch] screen, no thrills and admittedly not exactly fast, though good enough to browse the Web.”

As for the new Bing laptop (named after the type of cherry, not Microsoft’s search engine), it weighs 3 pounds and features a 13.3-inch widescreen TFT display with a resolution of 1,024 by 600 pixels. There’s also a 1.6GH Intel N280 processor, 1GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) memory, a 160GB hard drive and a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, plus a microphone and built-in speakers, 802.11 b/g connectivity, SD/MMC/MS card sockets and three USB 2.0 ports.

It’s priced at $389 (£240), runs Microsoft’s Windows XP and is said to offer 5 hours of battery life.

Cherrypal said the Bing laptop consumes less power than any other Intel Atom N280-based computer, and called it the “most energy-efficient, user-friendly and green laptop ever created—at the lowest price point the world has ever seen!”

Both PCs are said to be available now at the Cherrypal store, which, as of 16 Dec, was down, due to being hacked. (Alas, not an auspicious start.)

On 15 Dec, Sony Ericsson also showed its greener side with the introduction of two new phones, the Hazel and the Elm, as well as a new Bluetooth headset, all of which are part of its GreenHeart product lineup, which include recycled plastics, have energy-efficient chargers and come in minimal packaging.

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