The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is set to begin the roll out of their laptop, Taifa A3. The Taifa A3 sports a 2.4Ghz, 4th generation core i3 processor. It comes with 4 GB RAM and 500 GB hard disk. It also features 3 USB ports, HDMI port and capable of holding up to 7 hours of charge. The 14-inch laptop runs on Windows 8.1 and is set to retail at Kshs. 49,000 in selected stores that include BJ Electronics and Red Dot.
The laptop which was launched today marks the completion of a journey which started in 2006 aimed at giving JKUAT students access to computers. The Taifa A3 was assembled in a partnership between the University and Chinese company Inspur. Other organizations involved included Chip maker Intel and Microsoft. JKUAT intends to locally assemble the laptops at the Nairobi Industrial & Technology Park in Juja beginning September 2015. The Assembly line will allow JKUAT to harness innovation as well as commercialize intellectual property besides offering employment. The industrial park is a Vision 2030 flagship project 100% owned by the University.
The launch of the laptops comes just after the Government announced in the budget yesterday, the exemption from VAT inputs imported for assembling of ICT devices. The University will import custom design and general design parts then assemble them into whole units in the TAIFA range of products. The plan is to venture into Tablets, Phones and other electronic devices. Once fully operational, the assembly plant will do up to 6,000 devices. Speaking at the event, JKUAT’s Vice Chancellor Mabel Imbuga said Kenya has for long been a champion of innovation especially in software and Taifa offers a chance to move to hardware that is both competitive and meets global standards.
The launch of the devices and subsequent assembly in September is a novel idea. In deed, companies like Lenovo originated from research facilities of institutions of higher learning. JKUAT promised to launch more models other than Taifa A3 as well as offer regular updates besides warranties for the devices.