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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Venezuelans can now buy cell phones for the equivalent of just US $13.95, thanks to a new state-run company that put its first 5,000 units on the market yesterday in Caracas.

Eager shoppers snapped up the first bunch, and the AP reports that another 5,000 will be in stores soon.

The tiny phone, dubbed “El Vergatario,” is equipped with a camera, radio, and mp3 player.

The firm that makes them, a joint venture by the governments of Venezuela and China, is known as Vetelca. This is not an isolated effort, but rather, part of a broader plan to promote affordable technology (you may recall the “Bolivarian Computer,” and the adoption of open-source Linux operating systems).

“El Vergatario” is only sold on the domestic market right now, but depending on its success, it could eventually become an export. And because it is literally the cheapest cell phone in the world, it is likely to be quite competitive.

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It’s official! Venezuela’s social revolution takes to the skies today with the launch of the satellite dubbed “Simon Bolivar” in remembrance of the independence leader.

The BBC reported that this telecommunications tool will cover all of Latin America and be used, ideally by many countries, “to enhance regional integration and also for social programmes such as tele-education and tele-medicine.” Click on the BBC link to watch an informative video.

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This is an exciting story on the education and technology front: Venezuela signed a deal with Portugal last weekend to buy 1 million affordable laptop computers to place in schools across the country.

The first delivery will consist of 250,000 of the kid-friendly laptops (Intel’s Classmate PC), and the rest are expected by the end of 2009. This is the single largest purchase of these new computers to be made so far by any country in the world.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said, “It’s a lot more than exporting computers. It’s about cooperating with Venezuela to set up a program similar to what we have in Portugal. The aim is to improve education.”

The computers run on Linux software, an open-source technology supported by the Venezuelan government. Read more from AP, AFP and BBC.

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