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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tablet browsing in Senegal - Equinox cybercafe.

You have travelled by train about a couple of decades ago ~ and are doing it now too…. what is the noticeable difference ? (not of the speed / maintenance / food / reservation system et. al…) but of those travelling with you !!

We keep reading that Marine Insurance owes its development to coffee shop of Lloyds……. Almost a decade ago, in Chennai and in most other cities (in smaller towns too….) – cyber cafes were doing brisk business…… the internet café was the place which provided internet access to public.  These shops had small cubicles and some privacy ….. those days, most of the cafes were fully occupied … (and there were complaints that many of those using the cafes were seeing porn !) …..

The 20th FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in1950. Those of you following football, will know this Nation.  This team made an entry in 2002 losing the African cup tournament to Cameroon.  They were to make it big, as they  entered their first World Cup tournament the summer of the same year  held in South Korea.  In their first match (which was also the opening game of the World Cup tournament) they  shocked the world when defender Pape Bouba Diop scored the  only and winning goal beating the defending champions, France, 1–0 .  They entered the QF too.   

It is Senegal ~ in West Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi).  Its capital is Dakar, located at the westernmost tip of the country on the Cap-Vert peninsula. In its earlier history, Senegal had had various capitals – from independence from France in 1960, Dakar has been the Capital of Senegal.   

It is not about the country’s history, geography, politics or sports… anyway Senegal does not play Cricket !!  In much of Africa, instead of just powering up a laptop or turning on a smartphone, many people's access to the internet is limited to using an internet café, or cybercafé, where computers are available to use by the hour. But keeping an internet cafe running in a place where power outages or high electricity costs are an issue can be a challenge. The standard desktop PCs available at many places tend to be both slow (for the user) and power-hungry (for the owner), and can be tough for first-time users to learn to operate.

So, Google has thought out another innovation  ~ of using tablets in the cybercafés instead of desktops…….. and that is in Dakar.  Google has sponsored on trial basis, a tablet cafe in Dakar, called the Equinox, which now has 15 tablet computers to replace their desktop models, all of which are available to users for the same price as a normal session (about $0.60 USD per hour). Rumor has it, tablet shipments are on course to overtake PCs by 2015.

In olden days, people used to chat with their co-passengers a lot – caring for those with them …… train friendship used to grow or people would read novels during the travel ….. now a casual look around your local train or express would provide you glimpse of youthful men and women totally lost in their gadgets – mobiles, laptops and devices in which they can play VCDs and the more….. they plug their ears – don’t take their eyes out of their gadgets……..

With the tablet initiative, the internet giant is looking to increase Internet usage in Africa, thus growing the number of people that can access its own online services, and its latest initiative is an interesting one to say the least. This cybercafé reportedly opened in Dakar somewhere around May 2013 ~ that is Google sponsored – ‘Equinox cybercafe’, and according to Google Africa Blog, these savings arising out of battery use and not electricity can be  reinvested in faster connectivity," which could help to bring the cybercafes more happy customers. It's also believed that the simplicity of the touchscreen on tablets could be a key element in bringing new customers to the cybercafes, which then has the effect of helping more people have access to the internet.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Jan 2o14.

Map courtesy :

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