Omatek Smartbook: Local 4P Computing Innovation

| in 4P Computing | Comments (2)

Earlier this month, I had the luxury of inspecting a new Omatek Smartbook at the Ministry of Education in Ghana. The Smartbook is a low-cost laptop aimed at the education market, and with one look, you'l know its an XO laptop derivative:

It also happens to be one of the many 4P Computers that are coming out of the developing world. Not content to leave the 4PC market to Asus, these local computer manufactures are making their own low-cost, highly-portable, power-efficient, and performance-relative computers for local and regional markets.

Omatek Computers is a Nigerian company with a computer assembly factory in Ghana. This allows Omatek to produce computers tax free for Ghana and Nigeria, within certain quotas, giving it a competitive advantage over international vendors.

Add in the reference designs shared freely by the chipset manufacturers and local companies like Omatek are the next wave of real innovation the in 4P Computing market - more creative than Intel or OLPC, and over the long term, more game-changing.

As soon as one of these vendors realizes the true untapped market - parents who want to give their children an educational edge - you will see an explosion in local design and assembly. Just the employment, investment, and empowerment that the developing world needs.

2 Comments

Wayan, you have always been both a fan and critic of OLPC. Kudos for trying to elevate the discussion. 4P Computing is wonderfully alliterative, and seems to makes sense as a framework for analysis.

But your website is all about inexpensive laptops. Yet it is painfully obvious that sometimes (often, in fact), the appropriate amount of portability is zero. There are times when portability does not add any benefit, and portability certainly adds costs (including design, production, breakage, theft, etc.).

So how about up-leveling the discussion another notch and really helping people analyze the options? Let’s make sure we talk about the pros and cons of portability, where it adds value, and what the risks are so that people can make the best choice amongst all choices.

D. Rand,

I think we both can appreciate when non-mobile form factors are positive - mainly in shared use environments that your company and mine specialize in (your email shows you from nComputing).

Yet that's not the use case that I am focusing on here. I'm looking at the business user, and to a lesser extent the wealthy (for the developing world) user who has the need for mobility in their professional life.

Its these users who Asus, HP, Lenovo etc are targeting - they are the spillover from the "netbook" crowd in the developed world who is looking for a throw-away laptop. In this use case mobility is a defacto requirement.

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