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Homegrown laptop Koompi captures Japan’s interest

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
A Koompi team member shows the laptop to a customer. Supplied

A laptop built by a local startup may soon be sold across Asean, Japan and beyond, after garnering great interest in the local market.

Koompi, a Linux-based machine, was launched last month, and orders are already pouring in, said Thul Rithy, the co-founder.

“The first 1,000 units we’ve produced have all been sold, so we are now planning to produce an extra 1,000 units next month,” Mr Rithy said.

Koompi’s operating system was developed in the Kingdom, while key hardware, including the motherboard, was built and installed in the Chinese industrial hub of Shenzhen.

The laptop, which retails for $369, boasts a Celeron N4100 Intel processor, 8GB of RAM and can be purchased with 128GB or 256GB of SSD storage space. Weighing 1.4 kilograms, it is a lightweight, full metal 13.3-inch machine that yields up to seven hours of battery life.

“We used a custom-made, Linux-based operating system called Krama OS. It comes with Office Suite as an open-source alternative to Microsoft software,” Mr Rithy said, adding that instant messaging apps Telegram and Whatsapp, text editor software for programmers, and the web browser Brave and its partner search engine Duckduckgo come as in-built features.

“We also included various features to help users understand more about computers. It includes the programming language environment for Python, Go, Bash and Clojure.

Cambodia-made, Linux-based Koompi retails at $369. Supplied

“We encourage people to use Python, a useful and universal coding language, and Clojure because we see it as the future,” he added.

But the local startup’s biggest achievement yet may be just around the corner. Mr Rithy said they have recently entered negotiations to send the laptop to Japan.

“There is now an inquiry from Japan. We already sent them one unit, but now they need 10 more. They asked us to improve the hardware as the Japanese market demands higher specifications, but they are willing to pay us a generous price.

“We are hoping to sign a contract later this month or next month. If all goes according to plan, we will produce 5,000 units by January 2019 to ship to Japan,” he added.

While the Japan deal has the potential to be a breakthrough for the company, things back home are no less interesting. Mr Rithy said their target market in the Kingdom is composed of around half a million people.

Before venturing out of the Kingdom, however, Mr Rithy and his team have some homework to do. He tells us that they are now gathering feedback from local users on how to improve the product. He then plans to sell the machine across Asean.

“In the Asean market, we have around four million potential users,” he said, adding that they are most interested in the Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore markets.

Mr Rithy said he hopes to begin manufacturing the motherboard within Cambodia in the near future. Should this be the case, he said the instruction set architecture would be ‘RISC’ (reduced instruction set computer), which, he explained, would boost processing speeds by allowing the computer to have fewer cycles per instruction.

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