Intel (INTC) said Wednesday that it has developed a ruggedized PC chassis for the Indian market, designed to prolong the PC's lifespan in dusty rural towns.
Intel also announced the "Jagruti" or "Awakening" initiative to assist rural PC users in India by partnering with local ISPs and business leaders.
The "Community PC" platform is Intel's answer to the needs of rural communities, which face challenges in raising the funds necessary for a PC, powering it, connecting it, and preserving it in an environment that can be far away from a PC repair depot.
Intel did not provide an estimated cost for the Community PC. Agnes Kwan, a spokeswoman for the company, said that the company was searching for a partner or partners to build it.
Intel sent a team of researchers into India over a period of many months to research the problem, and the Community PC was designed for that market, Kwan said. The PC has already been deployed in a few trials across the country.
However, with a bit of tweaking, the Community PC design could be adapted for rural environments in other countries as well, she said.
"This is speaking to Intel's whole platformization strategy, where we're focused on the needs of the market, and not the speeds [of the chips]," Kwan said.
"The other side of the story is that we're really focused on what are our emerging markets, and what are their needs," Kwan added. "We're trying to see the needs of the computers in that [Indian] market, where we see more specialized needs."
From a technical perspective, Intel focused solving the problems of dust and power, two problems endemic to rural areas of India and other areas.
In addition to a dust filter, the Community PC contains a ruggedized chassis designed to withstand the rigors of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees F) and up to 85 percent humidity.
Intel has also set a thermal design specification that the peripherals cannot consume more than 100 watts, which saves power and waste heat at the same time. The PC's integrated power supply can be hooked up either to wall power or to a car battery.
Unlike MIT's $100 PC, the Community PC was designed to be placed into kiosks run by local entrepreneurs, Kwan said. Intel is working to provide asset controls to facilitate purchases made from the PC, she said, including the processing of electronic forms that would otherwise have to be delivered by hand or by mail.