AMD cancels its low-cost PC project

Written by Brett Thomas

November 13, 2006 | 23:52

Tags: #pic

Companies: #amd

Back in 2004, AMD announced a bold campaign known as 50x15. Rather than talking about cores, clock speed multipliers, or various other technical aspects, 50x15 served a more noble purpose - to bring internet connectivity to half the world by 2015. Now, the chip manufacturer's product designed for that market, the Personal Internet Communicator (PIC) has been cancelled.

You've never heard of the PIC? Well, apparently that was the problem. AMD has cancelled the project due to less-than-lackluster sales and a nearly zero impact. The PIC was aimed at developing nations where technology and economics (a rather linked set of metrics, to be sure) had not quite caught-up with modern computing or the world of communication as a whole. Heralded as the PC alternative, AMD sold the device for $185 to...well, nobody.

When questioned about the PIC, the IT head of one of India's most technologically advanced state, Karnataka, shook his head in confusion. He had never even heard of the device. India was one of the developing nations where AMD had hoped to generate most of sales of the unit, where the average cost of a full PC is well out of reach to many.

This news comes on the same day that the a new study by Access Markets International Partners, a leading research firm on technological trends, was released on opportunities in emerging markets. Apparently, the markets existing in India, China, Indonesia, and the Phillipines have too many people and not enough technology to go around. Over 75% of small businesses in these countries don't own PCs, but 25% or more (depending on country) of that non-owning group plan to buy one within 12 months.

AMI Partners believes that this four-nation Asian market is a prime target for a company willing to make a cheap enough PC. New businesses in India are especially interested - 40% of non-owning businesses want to buy a PC within the next year, and demand is expected to increase the cost considerably.

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