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Linkbook deletes the digital divide

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A few months ago, the $100 computer was or some, a mere pipe-dream. However, with the Linkbook, the idea is becoming more of a reality. The Linkbook is available to South Africans through Vodacom, runs the Ubuntu operating system and is said to cost as little as R40 per month over a 24 month period.

In response to long-time calls for simple, affordable Internet access for more people, Linkbook is here to delete the digital divide and launch a link to the future of online computing. Apart from its compact size, Linkbook’s advanced design functionality, user-friendly interface and the fact that everything works off the desktop – including shortcuts to popular local online content and e-commerce websites – make it the most intuitive, simple to operate device of its kind.

“Linkbook is an idea whose time has come,”” says Mark Levy, co-founder of Linkbook. “”It’s compact and highly intuitive and will bring easy-to-use wireless Internet to millions. It is a massive step in the direction of the $100 computer.‚

The Linkbook is customised for South Africa and includes links to the country’s top online sites and runs on a Linux operating system called Ubuntu.

Designed specifically to eliminate the digital divide by putting hardware, software and Internet access within reach of those who haven’t had access to the Internet before, Levy says Vodacom is making connectivity more available through the Linkbook at just R199 a month.

“”The cost of the actual computer to the consumer over the two-year contract period comes in at R40.00 per month. It’s unbeatable ‚ and all about bringing the Internet to a multitude more South Africans, giving them the opportunity to create communities, communicate with friends and colleagues and network wherever they choose.””

Bundled with data packages useful to everyone from students, entrepreneurs, small business owners and others who want to be connected, the attractively designed Linkbook has an embedded HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) module for totally wireless Internet connectivity.

As part of the launch, Linkbook is exclusive to Vodacom and is touted as the perfect entry-level computer. “”First time computer owners, will have access to e-mails and be able to surf the Internet. They will also find the Linkbook an appropriate alternative to full sized laptops or desktops,”” Levy says. “”The Vodacom deal ensures that the Linkbook opens doors for those previously unable to afford the online experience and also meets the needs of those who need to make notes and send or receive mail while travelling.””

While first-time computer users are often scared off by the technicality of complex computing, a key attraction of the Vodacom offering ‚ besides price ‚ is the sheer simplicity of use. “”The market for first-time computer buyers is huge,”” says Levy, “”and more exciting for us is the fact that we are able to finally bring to market a system that starts to erode the massive digital divide in South Africa, enabling almost everyone to make use of the phenomenon of internet communication.””

Levy says that users shouldn’t be mislead by the low cost of the Linkbook. “”Development doesn’t stop with the hardware. We are working with a number of partners to create exciting applications and dynamic content that will further enhance our customers’ experience of the web.””

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