Despite the ongoing decline in global PC sales, many people in emerging markets still don’t own a computer due to factors that include price tags that are outside the reach of many consumers in those countries.
Endless Computers are targeted specifically at those people. To lower the barrier to entry for consumers in emerging markets, Endless has developed a low-cost desktop central processing unit that works with TVs, much like early PCs. That eliminates the need for a monitor, which typically adds some cost to the price of a desktop PC. Although many people in emerging markets don’t own even one PC, they do tend to have at least one cheap TV.
Endless also created its own operating system and software that it is similar to that of a mobile operating system. The computers feature apps that include office software, games and photo editing software –- all tailored to emerging market users. Endless was also designed to work without Internet access, so there are more than 100 apps that don’t require access to the Web.
An entry-level 32-GB computer costs $169, but pricing will vary by country and the company is also fielding a more expensive 500-GB model. Each version features an Intel Celeron N2807 processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and ships in August. The initial markets targeted are Mexico and Guatemala, and more of Latin America will follow shortly after that, with plans for Asia, the Middle East and Africa planned for later. Its maker set a goal of raising $100,000 by May 15.
The computer holds promise for the specific markets it’s targeted at. But it remains to be seen if at least some of the targeted consumers will prefer low-cost convertible PCs such as those from One Laptop Per Child or scaled-up smartphones, especially as pricing on those products continue to decline.