AMD debuts low-cost Net device

Company's US$185 machine will debut in India, Mexico and Caribbean and feature browser, e-mail and word processor.

Advanced Micro Devices on Thursday formally announced a low-cost Internet device targeted at emerging markets.

As reported earlier, AMD's Personal Internet Communicator is designed to provide Net connectivity and Windows-based computing for consumers in emerging economies.

It features functions such as browser, e-mail, word processing and the ability to view images and multimedia files. It is a sealed device, operates without a fan and can only be upgraded by the service provider, reducing the risk of human error, AMD said.

AMD said the device will be marketed by the Tata Group in five Indian cities, while CRC will work with distributors in Mexico to offer it with educational software. Cable & Wireless is deploying the device for disaster relief work in the Caribbean. AMD said it is talking with telecommunications companies and government organizations in other regions as well.

The device will sell for US$185 with a keyboard, mouse and preinstalled software, while one with a monitor will cost US$249, the company said.

Technology companies have been focusing on developing innovative devices for markets where personal computers are still unaffordable. Simputer, unveiled by an Indian group, is based on Linux; the basic model of this handheld costs US$240. Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with Indian research groups, has developed a US$250 computer that also doubles as a television, video player and telephone.

"We see the power of computing not only to educate and unleash the creativity of people," AMD CEO Hector Ruiz said in a statement, "but to create significant business and economic growth opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs who can help bring billions of people into the modern technology era."