Earlier this week, BRCK Education, a division of BRCK launched a value priced tablet that will be running web-based content and locally cached videos. BRCK is a Nairobi- based hardware and services tech company whose flagship product is the BRCK, which is an internet connectivity device made for low infrastructure environments.
The tablet, dubbed ‘ BRCK – Kio’, is one component of a portable kit, which is made up of 40 ‘ruggedized’ BRCK Kio tablets; a BRCK, wireless charging to reduce breakage, and a hardened, waterproof, lockable case for added security. The kit and everything inside it is ruggedized to be both dust and water resistant. The easy to use, custom-made tablet is designed for use by Standard 1 pupils in harsh environments across rural Kenya where electricity is intermittent. It can be used for 8 hours without power and is ‘rugged’ enough to allow for occasional drops and spills. Security wise the tablet will not work if separated from the Kio Kit hence reduced chances of theft.
According to BRCK Education, the Kio Kit provides a “digital classroom in a box” model that connects any school within range of a mobile phone tower to the internet, as well as provides locally hosted content on the Kio tablets within each kit. The Kit is a simple, effective solution which requires minimal training or technical knowledge to setup and use. There is a single plug used to charge the kit and one button to power on the entire system.
BRCK Education has entered into partnership with several international and local organisations such as Kenyatta University, Pearson, Intel- Education and e-Limu, Know-Zone, e-Kitabu in an effort to refine the experience of accessing digital content. The company has also signed an agreement with Chase Bank that will see it provide credit facilities to schools that are keen on leveraging technology as an equaliser in achieving academic excellence.
The BRCK Kio tablet and BRCK kit are currently manufactured abroad but there are plans to move the assembly and manufacturing operations to Kenya in order to make more cost effective tablets. This will also allow BRCK to scale up their production for roll out across Africa. The Kio Kit will retail at USD 5000 while the tablets will retail for USD 99. The kits will be available for pre-order, while general availability will begin in January 2016.