will see plenty of smartphones in the developing world and you’ll see plenty of
TVs; but you’re unlikely to see desktop computers in remote areas. Poor
internet connectivity, uncertain power supply and a simple lack of money have
meant that billions have been locked out of the knowledge economy.
a trip to India, entrepreneur Matt Dalio noticed something about the country’s
emerging middle class: While many families owned TVs, few could also afford to
have a computer. He had an epiphany. Why not make TV screens double as the
monitor for a low-cost, but fully-functioning PC?
you spent three years building an operating system for emerging markets, what
would it look like? It would be as simple as a tablet. It would have apps for
the things people care about most, like education, health and livelihood. It
would work well without an internet connection. At its core, it would understand
that lives in emerging markets are unique, and that technology there should be
too. This is ‘Endless’.
the next three years, he worked with a team to develop Endless, a $169 computer
designed for the burgeoning middle class in the developing world. It’s loaded
with around 150 apps—from health and farming to Wikipedia—that can work
offline, so if someone has a spotty Wi-Fi connection, they can keep working.
Matt Dalio hopes to bring affordable computers to emerging middle class
families across America. His project, the Endless computer, works directly with
the family flat screen television, making for a lower cost operating system.
months of researching and meeting with emerging middle class families across
the country, Dalio discovered that most families had a television, but not all
had home computers. Since the screen was already present in these homes, Dalio
got the idea to double the existing television as a monitor, which would save
money for the families, and save on production and waste. Endless gives
everyone access to the virtual world, leveling the playing field and making
sure no one misses out.
on the interface of the familiar smart phone, the software on Endless is
user-friendly, simplified so users who have never had a computer before can
navigate with ease. A built-in App Center lets users download new apps easily
as if on their phones, but many apps are already pre-installed as a safeguard
for users with spotty or limited internet. In fact, the system was designed
with the ability to work offline, to save work of users in areas with
unreliable internet. The computer itself was designed to look anything but
utilitarian, resembling a sleek cloud module that can rest on any desk, table,
or television console.
an estimated 5 billion people without access to computers, Endless say the
potential for their computers is enormous and, while it may not be the cheapest
on the market, Dalio says it is the best that money can buy. Consumers in the
developing world, he says, are no different to consumers anywhere else in the
world and want something functional but also slick.
just wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign, and in time, the company plans to
extend the inexpensive computer to developing areas, giving access to virtually
further in Endlessm