Can netbooks really cut it in Africa?


The genesis of netbooks can be seen in machines such as the One Laptop per Child XO device, and its rival the Intel Classmate - both originally targeted at the developing world.

However, design doesn't always translate to execution - so a year or so ago teamed up IT charity Computer Aid to test a range of low-power PCs including the OLPC, Classmate as well as more mainstream netbooks such as the Asus Eee to see whether they could really stand up to the riggers of day to day life in African schools.

Computer Aid - which sends refurbished PCs to developing countries - wanted to find out whether netbooks and other low-power options such as thin clients would be a better solution for the patchy and relatively expensive electricity provision in Africa than a standard PC.

The full report of the charity's findings - compiled from initial trials in ZDNet UK's labs as well as testing at three African Universities - are now live on Computer Aid's site:

You can also find the initial ZDNet UK tests here:,1000000323,39363065,00.htm