Rs.10,000 computer-phone could hit market by 2010-end

October 26th, 2009 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

By Shweta Srinivasan
Pokhara (Nepal), Oct 26 (IANS) Is it a phone set, or a computer? No, it is the third generation ‘Kayak’. Prototypes of this Rs.10,000 device which offers high-speed broadband connectivity are ready and developers say trials start early next year and the product could be commercially available by end of 2010 in India and Nepal.

“We have built the prototypes for Kayak. These look like a regular desk phones with a display, key board and mouse,” Kanwalinder Singh, president of Qualcomm India and south Asia, told IANS.

Qualcomm pioneered the code division multiple access (CDMA) technology used by more than 100 million mobile phone users in India and is set to begin trials of the low-cost Kayak early next year, Singh said.

“We feel that these computing devices could do phenomenally well in rural emerging markets. We hope that after trials it could be commercially available in late 2010,” Singh added.

Kayak is named after the boats used by American Indians which are known for their simplicity and speed. The product gives high-speed broadband connectivity on third generation (3G) spectrum. In other words, one could use it to make a simple call as well as getting content off a high speed internet connection.

The product would be piloted for use in 40 schools of India in collaboration with NGO Azim Premji Foundation. Although designed to cater to the connectivity divide in developing nations, Singh said that even in the US there was growing interest.

“Education content is the key driver of people in rural areas to adopt computing devices,” Singh said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a function here to inaugurate an initiative of NGO Room to Read and Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach project and local communities, who have set up computer labs in five government schools in Nepal and five labs in Vietnam with broadband access.

India is expected to auction 3G spectrum later this year, which will allow cellular operators to offer high-speed Internet access to content such as video on mobile phones.

Qualcomm is in talks with operators like Tata, Reliance, BSNL, MTS as well as Bharati and Vodafone for a tie-up for Kayak they will licence the technology to hardware vendors and may earn royalty on chips sold once the product is commercialised.

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