Aleutia’s (pronounced al-oo-sha) aim is to distribute online computers at a price point that is affordable to as many families and businesses as possible in the developing world, and particularly in Africa.
Response to a Problem
In the summer of 2006, Aleutia’s founder set up an Internet cafe for an NGO in Takoradi, Ghana that works with streetchildren. The twenty HP desktops that were sourced locally were three years old and $500 each, prone to hardware faults because of their age, and consumed inordinate amounts of power, the ongoing cost of which almost crippled the project. In response to these challenges, we started this venture and have now brought to market the T1 — a tiny, silent, rugged computer that consumes just 18W of power, about 15% of a traditional desktop. The T1 and T2 offer excellent performance for applications like OpenOffice, Skype, and even demanding websites like YouTube. We have shipped Aleutia computers to customers in 59 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia.
Computers as Appliances
Our take on the market is that large computer manufacturers overshoot the needs of most customers. We prefer to think of computers as appliances — simple devices with a minimal learning curve that people can use to to get something done. Unless you’re editing videos or playing advanced 3-D games, you don’t need the processing power of a modern desktop. Most people just want to write documents, create spreadsheets, send emails, and browse the web. We provide PCs that do that well, and whose minimal power requirements can be met by small, inexpensive solar panels and 12V batteries.
Longer, Local Warranty
Support in the field is of critical importance to our customers. That’s why we forge close partnerships with local distributors, enabling Aleutia to keep spare systems and components where are customers are . This means that when a rural school needs a replacement system it can be quickly swapped out without having to send anything back to the UK.
We continue to focus on bringing powerful PCs and servers to market that are consistently smaller, more rugged, and more energy efficient than the competition. To reduce the possibility of failure we aim to avoid using moving parts where possible, replacing hard drives with solid state drives and using low voltage processors that can be passively cooled instead of relying on fans.
A computer’s usefulness is often contingent on its internet connection, and we have begun integrated 3G modems into products like the T2, and will soon be bundling these with data plans that can operate anywhere.
As with everything we do, this is meant to help overcome the challenges that inhibit access to computers in so many parts of the world.
We’re always looking to take on smart people, whether as partners or as part of our team. If you like what you read, drop us a line on email@example.com. If you want to learn more about “Appliance Computers”, take a look at this presentation Mike did at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin (November 2007).