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On Qualcomm’s Low Cost PC For 3G: Kayak

 At India Telecom 2008, Qualcomm showcased Kayak, a low cost, low power computing device; an alternative to the PC for rural areas. Some of the features of the device: Power consumption: we've heard in the past about how HCL developed PCs that work on car batteries for rural areas because availability of power is scarce, and how some villagers travel for miles to recharge their phones. Kayak doesn't require a UPS or battery backup - it uses less than 5 Watts of power to run. The prototype Qualcomm showcased doesn't come with a battery built in, but the company said that the commercial unit can run for 3-5 hours without electricity, depending on the battery size. Ruggedness: Kayak is powered by a rugged processor, the kind used in mobile handsets which survive despite rough use. There are no moving parts and uses a flash drive for storage. One can also use network storage for files. Complexity: The system loads within 30 seconds, like in case of mobile handsets. The device doesn't have a complex operating system, and Internet access is powered by Opera Software. Qualcomm believes that people in rural areas require basic mostly services like email, chat, music, messaging, basic gaming etc. Only a few savvy users will want to use other applications. Connectivity: Kayak is a 3G device, and can work on EVDO or HSDPA; I saw the demo on MTNLs 3G, which had a speed of 1.5 Mbps (not 2.5Mbps as MTNL had earlier claimed). Sandeep Sibal of Qualcomm had mentioned…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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