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Canadian firm targets rural Kenya with solar laptops

By Lillian Kiarie | Published Tue, March 11th 2014 at 00:00, Updated March 10th 2014 at 22:22 GMT +3

By Lillian Kiarie

Kenya: Canadian Communications Company WeWi plans to launch its solar powered laptops in Kenya. The laptops will enhance Internet penetration in remote areas as well as bridge the digital divide between towns and villages.

The solar-powered laptops (SOLs) are targeting thousands of Kenyans currently locked out of transitioning into the computer revolution due to lack of electricity.The SOLs, whose price will range between Sh30,000 to Sh43,000, can be connected to electricity and at the same time be detached and charged outside via sunlight.

Rechargeable laptops

WeWi Director Ronald Carson is optimistic of success, going by the large number of Kenyans who are not connected to electricity and the high demand and growth in other countries such as Ghana.

“SOLs stand out as they have four solar panels that fold out of the device ensuring the computer is fully recharged even in two hours, “Carson says.  Once fully charged, the battery life can last for up to 10 hours

 “It has a four-panel solar-charging device built into the computer’s case and the laptop can run off the solar panels directly when exposed to sunlight, bypassing the battery,” he says.

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The laptop has a 13.3-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, up to 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and a 1.86 GHz Intel Atom D2500 dual-core processor with GMA 3600 graphics. It runs on Ubuntu Linux.

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