Telecommunications group Vodacom has launched its Linkbook into the SA market – a super-low price netbook that will go for R199 per month on a two-year contract, including a monthly bandwidth bundle of 300MB.
The Linkbook is running a customised Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, and ships with OpenOffice, some games and other applications. It has 2 USB ports, WiFi, a 8.9″ screen, 16GB of embedded flash storage, integrated 3G modem, webcam and a microphone. I can’t tell what processor it is running, but I’d bet it’s an Intel Atom. There is also no indication of battery life.
Vodacom says that R40 of the R199 monthly subscription is attributable to the laptop, while the remaining R159 covers network access and the 300MB data bundle. The Linkbook is exclusive to Vodacom at this stage.
Mark Levy, co-founder of Linkbook (I’m not sure if this is the same Mark Levy from Blue Label Telecoms), says, “Linkbook is an idea whose time has come. It’s compact and highly intuitive and will bring easy-to-use wireless internet to millions.”
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.”
Given the price, I’d say this is a breakthrough and I look forward to getting my hands on the Linkbook to try out. I certainly hope that the education sector is paying attention as this seems like a decent solution for schools and other institutions.