Cherrypal’s $99 Laptop: Small! Slow! Sufficient!

By  |  Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Last year, a Web site reported that low-end electronics manufacturer Coby was going to release a $99.95 mini-laptop. It was exciting news–and a hoax. But Cherrypal has announced something that sounds more or less like the machine that Coby didn’t. The Cherrypal Africa has a 7-inch screen, 2GB of flash memory, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, two USB ports (one of which is of the obsolete USB 1.1 flavor), and either Windows CE or Linux. And yup, it sells for $99.

The Africa isn’t going to replace your MacBook Pro. Or your netbook. Or, really, any other computing device you own–it’s profoundly basic, and as the name suggests, it may be of most interest in developing nations where there are plenty of people for whom even $99 is going to be a stretch.

Actually, the Cherrypal Web site describes the Africa with a word I’ve never, ever heard a computer manufacturer use about its own product: “slow.”

In another place, the site calls the Africa a “no-thrills laptop.” Also refreshingly honest! The company seems to be more excited about its $389 13.3″ Bing notebook. (Which, confusingly, has nothing to do with Microsoft’s search engine–Cherrypal had the name first.) In fact, it says the Bing is “the fastest and most affordable laptop on the market today.” I haven’t seen the Bing, but I kind of suspect both claims are, um, false.

I’m not going to buy a Cherrypal Africa, and neither are you–but do you think it’s a noble experiment, a goofy oddity, a desperate cry for attention–or all three?



5 Comments For This Post

  1. psikeyhackr Says:

    I payed $3000 for and IBM PC in 1981.

    That ain’t slow it just shouldn’t have today’s SLOW, BLOATED and INEFFICIENT software installed on it.

    I would sooner buy that then a Kindle or a Nook.

    Americans are spoiled and don’t know the RIGHT machines to buy. Have to keep up with the dumb Joneses.

  2. Backlin Says:

    Windows CE? Really?

  3. sallyg Says:

    Nice post. I read as much as I can on laptops.

  4. Chris Meadows Says:

    I interviewed the chairman of Cherrypal aout the Africa. Some interesting stuff came out.

    The specs on the website are not set in stone. They’re what your computer will AT LEAST have. It may have better ones. They’re basically obtaining budget parts or even whole pre-built systems inexpensively, rebranding them as Cherrypal Africas, and selling them for $99.

    The idea is not to sell netbooks cheap, but to get basic, bare-bones Internet access capability into the hands of people on the underside of the digital divide.

  5. Clayton Hallmark Says:

    There are actually several netbooks in the under-$150 range.   

    However, the Cherrypal is revolutionary: the first notebook/laptop/netbook that is Under $100, not a refurb or contract deal, and available for purchase every day and indefinitely at that price. This is what the Asus Eee was supposed to be — but Asus failed / betrayed us.

    Now we need to get this into brick-and-mortar stores. Then WATCH OUT!

    After that we need to get it down to $50 or so and in bubblepacks hanging on pegboards, like a calculator.

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