IBM, Canonical and Simmtronics are realising their joint effort to pump low cost netbooks into the African market. The netbooks will apparently be sold for around US$190 (just under R1500) and will run a Lotus enriched Ubuntu Netbook Edition which has been named IBM Client for Smart Work. What's important to note about this package is that it has the productivity capabilities of a desktop solution that would cost three to four times the price. How do they achieve this? With thin client, cloud architecture which effectively reduces the need for powerful hardware by placing the majority of the work load on the server. Mark Shuttleworth introduces the product below:
An ARM processor could have improved the performance to cost ratio in my opinion but overall i think this is exactly the kind of thing that sparked the netbook evolution. I am currently running Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 beta on my EeePC although i use it primarily for web and watching videos. I think ideally one would plug a bigger screen and keyboard into the netbook when using productivity software but i can definitely see the number of desktop computers in the work place reducing in the years to follow.