A new netbook, already pre-loaded with software and services, is being offered for emerging markets at a record low price of $190.00 (about R1 400.00).

The Simmtronics netbook is a collaboration between  IBM, Canonical and Simmtronics. It is preloaded with IBM Client for Smart Work, which includes IBM Lotus Symphony, access to IBM LotusLive cloud collaboration services, and choice of adding other IBM Lotus collaboration software like Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime.
Businesses worldwide struggle to find computing platforms that bridge the gap between low price and high performance in IT. Today's announcement addresses this gap with the availability of a low-cost, high-value platform that includes productivity applications, hardware and an operating system available in a single netbook with no custom work required.
"As Africa makes economic strides during a time when new technologies like cloud computing are emerging, the Simmbook netbook with LotusLive, Lotus Symphony, Lotus Notes and Ubuntu Linux provides businesses with a complete solution at an affordable price," says Clifford Foster, IBM sub-Saharan Africa chief technology officer. "Chief Information Officers, IT directors and IT architects from all type of organisations in South Africa — even those that typically cannot afford new, expensive personal computers — can now legitimately consider netbooks instead of PCs for business use."
Designed specifically for mobile computing, the Simmbook provides the power of a full-sized laptop in a compact body. IBM Client for Smart Work is IBM and Canonical's complete desktop package that is open, easy to use, and offers a security-rich alternative to costly, proprietary PC software, such as Microsoft Windows. It can help lower costs by up to 50 percent of a Microsoft PC.
IBM Lotus Symphony is a full suite of applications for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and is estimated to have over 13-million users worldwide. IBM LotusLive provides integrated, Cloud-based email, web conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, relationship management and project tracking, with over 18 million users in 99 countries. IBM Lotus Notes/Domino provides enterprise-grade email and collaboration capabilities and is used by more than half of the largest global 100 corporations. It is available for a wide variety of Web devices.
Simmtronics is working closely with IBM to provide low cost computing in emerging markets around the world. In addition to African countries, the low-cost Simmbook will also be available in India, Thailand and Vietnam.
"Netbooks are quickly becoming the norm instead of desktop computers for many businesses worldwide," says Indrajit Sabharwal, founder and MD of Simmtronics Semiconductors. "In emerging markets such as South Africa and other sub-Saharan African markets, businesses need a solution that addresses both price and value. The Simmbook solution does just that — delivering a cost effective, high value and performance system with access to the collaborative tools that businesses need to run efficiently, including e-mail, Web access and instant messaging. It's an ideal product for low total cost of ownership."
The Simmbook lends itself to the cloud computing model as it is thin, lightweight and enables users to quickly and easily gain access to the cloud, including IBM LotusLive collaboration services, without needing any additional customisation. Not only does the Simmbook serve as an access point to cloud, it is relevant for businesses starting up or looking to integrate collaboration into business — a user simply needs to turn it on and can begin using the standard features without hassling with costly Windows and Office-based systems.
"Canonical has a great programme for engaging with hardware manufacturers for getting Ubuntu certified and delivered across various platforms and we're happy to welcome Simmtronics to the programme," says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical. "It's exciting to see how computing is changing the lives of people in Africa and the new Simmbook provides a real testament of how important it is to get low-cost computing into Africa's economy."