China enters the low-cost laptop competition

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Longmeng, which means Dragon Dream in Mandarin, is the name of a low-cost laptop computer. It was developed by the Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. There are conflicting reports about the price: Bloomberg reported the laptop would be priced at 1,500 yuan (about USD 187 or EUR 153), while People's Daily and Shanghai Daily reported a lower price of 1,000 yuan (about USD 125 or EUR 102). The lower price would make the laptop competitive with the One Laptop Per Child project initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Longmeng has a Godson II processor, which is equivalent in processing power to the Pentium III. It is actually a computer, a DVD player and a video game player, using the Linux operating system. It is the size of a textbook, 14 x 17 cm. (5 1/2 x 6 3/4 in.) and weighs about half a kilogram (1.1 pounds).

The new laptop was announced by Zhang Fuxin, an ICT engineer. According to Fuxin, the purpose of this project is to provide everyone with a personal computer.

The laptop is marketed by the Menglan Group from the eastern city of Changshu in the province of Jiangsu. They plan to sell 100,000 of the low-cost laptops in 2006. The Longmeng is intended for low-income groups as well as rural-area students.