Fri, Jan 27, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Via to work with India to make `rural friendly' computers

JOINT INITIATIVE Taiwan's biggest maker of personal computer chipsets will work with the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai

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Via Technologies Inc (威盛電子), Taiwan's biggest maker of personal computer chipsets, said it will work with an Indian technology university to make computers that rural consumers can afford.

The company, in partnership with a school of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, will focus on making a computer that can withstand erratic power supply and the heat and dust of India's rural hinterland, Via President Chen Wen-chi (陳文琦) said in Mumbai on Wednesday. Via has drawn up a long-term plan to develop personal computers that are suited to Indian conditions, the company said in a statement.

Via has already tested a design for such computers, which will have to cope with unreliable rural power supply.

"We have tested it to run up to 30 hours on a 12-volt car battery," Chen said.

About 56.5 percent of India's 138.3 million rural households don't get electricity, according to the Ministry of Power. India's peak power deficit, or the gap between supply and demand during evening hours, narrowed to 10 percent in the nine months ended Dec. 31, 2005, compared with an 11.7 percent gap in the full year ended March 31, 2005, according to the Ministry of Power's Web site.

Desktop computer sales in India, Asia's fourth-biggest economy, may rise 29 percent to 4.7 million units in the year to March 31, the Manufacturers Association of Information Technology, a group of computer makers, said in New Delhi on Jan. 5. India sold 3.63 million computers in the previous year.

While Via said it wants to make affordable computers, the company didn't give details. The cheapest branded computers in India, the world's second-most populous nation, sell for 10,000 rupees (US$226).

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