Cherrypal Africa Netbook: The World's "First" $99 Laptop

Cherrypal Africa Netbook: The World's "First" $99 Laptop

OLPC tried its best to come out with a $100 (or so) notebook, but after all was said and done, it failed. Cherrypal is known for producing low-cost wares, and now it's claiming that it has just launched the planet's first $99 laptop. Sure, you can pick up small notebooks overseas for less than $100, but no mainstream US-based machine has hit the level until now.

You may remember this company as responsible for producing the world's "greenest desktop computer," and today it's launching its first $99 netbook. Oddly, the machine is titled "Africa," and unlike some of the modern Eee PCs, this one has a screen that's only 7". Of course, you shouldn't expect much more for $99, but hey, it's a $99 notebook!

Specifications include a 400MHz processor, 256GB of storage, 2GB of memory and the ability to run Linux or Windows CE operating systems. You'll notice that these specifications are weaker than some smartphones, but if you only need to browse the web and work on the occasional document, this just might do the trick. Whatever the case, we're glad that the pricing barrier has been lowered--now let's just get those specifications up to where they need to be and we'll be set!



"At Cherrypal, we're extremely conscious of the so-called 'digital divide'," said Max Seybold, the company's founder. "We're constantly looking for ways to bridge that gap, and the Cherrypal Africa is a huge step in the right direction. Plus, everyone who has tried it has absolutely loved it!"

Named after Cherrypal's recent community building initiative in Ghana, the Africa packs quite a punch for its size and price point. The computer runs on a 400 MHz processor and features 256 GB RAM, 2 GB flash memory and can run either Linux or Windows CE operating systems.

The Africa isn't just user friendly - it's also environmentally friendly. From top to bottom, Cherrypal designs all of its computers to consume the least amount of power possible, while using fewer parts than other manufacturers. This saves electricity and keeps excess computer byproducts out of landfills. The company is also aware of its own carbon footprint and relies on wind energy to power its website.

Along with the launch of the Africa, Cherrypal has also redesigned the new 13.3-inch widescreen Bing laptop. Priced at only $389 (including Windows XP), the Intel N280-based (1.6 GHz operation) Bing features 1 GB DDRII memory, 160 GB HDD, 1.3 MP integrated web camera and much, much more.

The Cherrypal Bing and Cherrypal Africa can both be purchased through the recently launched Cherrypal Open Store, which features products designed by Apple, Dell and others. All non-Cherrypal products featured in the Open Store are priced at least 30 percent less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price, but carry Cherrypal's unconditional 30-day money back guarantee.

To browse all of Cherrypal's affordable green machines, visit www.cherrypal.com.


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Okay, here's why they're not telling you the specs (which seem to be thoroughly hidden on their site):

It uses a (non-x86) ARM CPU. That's why you see "can run either Linux or Windows CE operating systems".

If you're a Linux user - no big deal, The vast majority of Linux apps aren't affected by architecture changes, because they can practically all be recompiled from source on any platform.

But, if you're a Windows-only user, you can't run *any* standard Windows apps on this thing. You can't even use Wine in Linux to run Windows apps on it (Wine Is No Emulator - it won't translate the x86 opcodes to ARM).  It wonder if there's even a suitable version of the closed source Adobe Flash for it (though a free replacement like gnash might work for some uses).

The CPU speed choice is puzzling... It probably handles a much higher speed but has been underclocked for battery life. Even the ARM CPU in the iPhone is clocked higher than this.

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It bears an uncanny resemblance to the 1995 Toshiba Satellite Pro!



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Well, don't think of it as a crippled notebook, think of it as a PDA with a big screen and a real keyboard. WinCE, though... why, god, why?

Hey, I'm sure there are Linux music players that'll run on this-- the 256 GB mentioned above is a typo; it actually comes with 256 MB of RAM and a 2 GB flash drive, but has a SD/MMC slot for up to 8 GB more (they claim), and a USB 2.0 port for thumb drives. Maybe you can just think of it as a kickin' MP3 player! Shoot, if you shrink a MPEG down to 800x480, you can get a full length movie on that much storage. And since text takes up next to no space at all, it can also be your eBook reader.

Once it can run World of Warcraft, let me know.

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>> Hey, I'm sure there are Linux music players that'll run on this-

Tons. I stream music to Linux on my PS3 (non-x86 CPU, 256MB RAM), all the time.

>> Once it can run World of Warcraft, let me know.

It'll never be able to run WoW though. The only way to run the x86 code would be under QEmu, and it would be _slow_ given that CPU speed. Especially considering there's no 3D accelerated video hardware in the thing.

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>It'll never be able to run WoW though.

Yeah. Sorry. I forgot the smiley faces which tell people that the preceding text was facetious. .)

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Oh, I knew you knew better - I just wanted to make sure nobody else got their hopes up. :)

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It's a $100.00 solution for some people. Maybe it will sell.

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Agreed. At $100 it's still a value... great laptop/browser for kids.

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Only if you hate your children. :P Why would anyone give their kids such a POS--can you imagine the whining when it can't run anything at Disney.com, or play movies well? At $99, this is some kind of value for someone who knows how to work around the fact that it's a non-x86 CPU, etc.

For a kid? This is like asking for a PS3, and getting socks.

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>> Only if you hate your children.

So, you've met my children.

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3vi1:

>> Only if you hate your children.

So, you've met my children.

lol

 

Also this seems kind of cool. You could say the same about a netbook. It can't run a lot of stuff, but my little bro seems to love his and I enjoy mine. Sure you can't do everything with them, but if you understand the limits that it has there is a lot that you can do with these things. I mean for $99 why not have one and leave it on your end table so you can browse the forums and what not on the couch. Not everyone can afford even the $300 that a netbook cost and I do see value in a PC like this.

Speed is not everything. The touch screens at work that I use to punch in orders run a 266 AMD K6 CPU with 128MB of ram and a version of Linux called squirrel linux. You know what. I never wait on those thing or get annoyed because they are slow because they are plenty fast for what they do.

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Note that I specifically said: "if you know how to work around the limitations of the platform."

Kids don't know how to do that and I'm *really* uninterested in re-learning how to do it every time some moronic company publishes "Clifford The Big Red Dog Flash Game XI" (Don't laugh--I saw my 5 year-old nephew playing such a game today) :P

Can old hardware (or new hardware that runs like old hardware) still be useful? Of course. Windows 95 and Word 95 would run just fine on that K6-266 you've got with 128MB of RAM. But are these pieces of technology I'd actually want to use? No. Use if I had to, maybe. But not otherwise.

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Hopefully it won't turn into this type of antique by the time it gets to market.

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The specs actually look pretty solid, now if only they'd upgrade their processor and sell a $150 version.

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There is something wrong with this cherrypal-story!

Read here and watch out...

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Cherrypal Africa is a total SCAM! Max Seybold is a liar! Someone needs to tell the truth about this company. Google "Cherrypal SCAM" or check with the Better Business Bureau for the list of complaints. If you order anything from Cherrypal they will keep your money and NOT send you a product!

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