IBM and Partners Launch Cheap Cloud Netbook

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IBM has teamed up with Canonical and Simmtronics to launch a cloud netbook costing just $190 (£127) for emerging markets


IBM has partnered up with Ubuntu promoter Canonical, as well as memory chip specialist Simmtronics Semiconductors, in order to deliver a $190 (£127) netbook for emerging markets that comes with IBM cloud services and software.

The Simmbook will be available first in emerging markets such as South Africa, IBM said on 25 March. “The Simmbook is preloaded with IBM Client for Smart Work, which includes IBM Lotus Symphony, access to IBM LotusLive cloud collaboration services, and [a] choice of adding other IBM Lotus collaboration software like Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime,” the company said.

The Simmbook is designed for mobile computing. “IBM Client for Smart Work is IBM and Canonical’s complete desktop package that’s open, easy to use and offers a security-rich alternative to costly, proprietary PC software, such as Microsoft Windows,” IBM said. “It can help lower costs by up to 50 percent of a typical Microsoft PC.”

“As Africa makes economic strides during a time when new technologies like cloud computing are emerging, the Simmbook netbook with LotusLive, Lotus Symphony, Lotus Notes and Ubuntu Linux provides businesses with a complete solution at an affordable price,” Clifford Foster, CTO for IBM’s sub-Saharan operation, said in a statement. “CIO’s, IT directors and IT architects from all type of organisations in South Africa – even those that typically cannot afford new, expensive personal computers – can now legitimately consider netbooks instead of PCs for business use.”

The IBM statement said:

“IBM Lotus Symphony is a full suite of applications for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and is estimated to have over 13 million users worldwide. IBM LotusLive provides integrated, Cloud-based email, web conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, relationship management and project tracking, with over 18 million users in 99 countries. IBM Lotus Notes/Domino provides enterprise-grade email and collaboration capabilities and is used by more than half of the largest global 100 corporations. It is available for a wide variety of web devices.”

“Netbooks are quickly becoming the norm instead of desktop computers for many businesses worldwide,” Indrajit Sabharwal, founder and managing director of Simmtronics Semiconductors, said in a statement. “In emerging markets such as South Africa, businesses need a solution that addresses both price and value. The Simmbook solution does just that – delivering a cost-effective, high-value and performance system with access to the collaborative tools that businesses need to run efficiently, including email, web access and instant messaging. It’s an ideal product for low total cost of ownership.”

“Simmtronics is working closely with IBM to provide low-cost computing in emerging markets around the world. In addition to African countries, the low-cost Simmbook also will be available in India, Thailand and Vietnam,” IBM said.

“Canonical has a great program for engaging with hardware manufacturers for getting Ubuntu certified and delivered across various platforms and we’re happy to welcome Simmtronics to the program,” Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, said in a statement. “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.”

A video of Shuttleworth talking about the Simmbook can be found here. The Simmbook will ship with Canonical’s Ubuntu Netbook Remix version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system.

“The Simmbook lends itself to the cloud computing model as it is thin [and] lightweight and enables users to quickly and easily gain access to the cloud, including IBM LotusLive collaboration services, without needing any additional customisation,” IBM said.

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