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Count on African entrepreneurs to improve cloud access (BRCK)

Many of the latest trends, including Google’s new Chromium computers and Adobe’s new cloud software, assume an Internet connection. If that Internet connection is lost, then you can’t access the cloud and you can’t work. (Unless you bring out antique devices such as paper and pens.)

If you think that’s a “first world problem,” consider what it’s like in the Third World. For example, what if the connection is lost in Nairobi?

Erik Herzman, an Ushahidi co-founder, dreamed up BRCK more than a year ago as a solution to connectivity problems at the iHub, Nairobi’s best-known space for hackers to congregate.

Currently the iHub addresses the issue by supporting connections to four Internet providers. BRCK, currently in prototype form, provides an alternative:

BRCK is a wi-fi router and mobile modem in one, with eight hours of battery life to keep it going when the power runs out. It can sit in an office connected by ethernet and switch seamlessly to a 3G or 4G connection if the line goes down. It can also support up to 20 wireless connections and has 16 gigabytes of storage so it can work as a back-up network drive.

The device is also ruggedized, because conditions in Kenya are not your average “typical office conditions” for which most hardware is designed.

See the Kickstarter page for more information.

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