Google’s Android operating system has been the dominant mobile platform for a number of years, but Cape Town-based Capsule Technologies is turning the tide – by using the operating system to develop a desktop computer.
Franck Martinaux, Technical Director and Chief Technology Officer of Capsule Technologies, says the computer, currently in development, aims to reduce the technology gap that is wide-spread in Africa, especially in rural areas.
“This computer have been developed to answer the specific needs of Africa, such as the lack of Infrastructure such as Electricity and Telecommunication, but also the availability of brand new spare parts for computers,” he said.
Codenamed 20W, the unit only uses 20 watts of electricity. “20 watts is the maximum power consumption in peak usage of this computer, and such low power requirement is opening the door to solar energy.”
In terms of features, the unit has built-in wireless MESH networking to create community networks between computers. There is also the possibility that recycled parts from e-waste could be used to assemble and create common components, such as keyboards and monitors.
The 20W will be powered by Android 4.x, which according to Martinaux, opens the door to new possibilities and development. “In addition to the wireless MESH software layer, we are developing layers for better desktop usage, including printer drivers, scanner drivers and burning CD drivers.”
On the unique features of his device, Martinaux said, “you can do almost anything with 20W! Absolutely the same things that you can do with a standard laptop or a tablet. The unique features of 20W are the built-in wireless MESH network, the “powered by solar energy” feature, and the compatibility with Android,” he explained.
Although the 20W is a recognized project by World Design Capital 2014, it still needs funding.
“The project is not funded so far, the future of 20W is in users’ hands since we are using thundafund.com, a crowd-funding platform. Thundafund is based on the same principle as Kickstarter, but is a 100% African solution – donation from anywhere in the world are possible.”
The company said that it needs about $7000 to purchase development boards and equipment for Research & Development.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor