The computer for the entire world developed by Endless

The computer for the entire world developed by Endless

You 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.

On 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?


 

Credit: Endless Computers

If 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’.

For 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.

Designer 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.
After 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.

Based 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.

With 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.

Endless just wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign, and in time, the company plans to extend the inexpensive computer to developing areas, giving access to virtually everyone.

Explore further in Endlessm

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