A new UK-based company is attempting to bridge the digital gap in Third World countries with the new Portable USB OS Drive called Keepod. The inspiration behind this noble enterprise came from a small 500,000 resident community in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. There is no safe water supply and basic sanitation is completely non-existent. There is no education system except for unorganized, smaller “street schools” that are run by inexperienced and undereducated adults who are trying to offer their children a better future. Only 10% of school-age children manage to go to college. As you might imagine, digital technologies and Internet access is a luxury that these people simply cannot afford.

The Keepod design team is the first such company to provide a bootable portable USB operating system where the hardware and software are completed compartmentalized and separate. This means that the USB can be easily used in nearly any computer, even refurbished models. Keepod claims that they have vastly improved upon older systems of WinToGo and LinuxLive “LiveUSB” technologies which were severely limited in their backup capabilities and system testing protocols.

But the Keepod is a primary operating system with several additional enhanced functions and features, including increased performance operations, optimized security protocol, enhanced reliability for system filing, and many other advancements that make this portable USB OS much more reliable for a community far from the reaches of IT tech heads and computer geeks.

The Keepod is based on the old Linux systems, with multiple web browsers, mobile apps, and social media networks, already pre-installed. It even includes the VLC media player, the LibreOffice Suite, FileZilla FTP, and many other free software inclusions.

Some very basic requirements of the host computer are clearly defined, however. In order to upload all of this information and data, the USB drive must have 8 GB of available storage space, and the host computer must have an x86 processor. A USB port version 2.0 or higher is required, 1 GB of RAM, and a display with resolution capabilities of 1024 x 768 are also needed. However, the Keepod Portable USB OS will not work on Mac Tablets, laptops, computers, or any other type of Apple device.

Many efforts have been made in the past to provide Third World countries with individual PC’s as a means to bridge the digital divide, but not much success has yet been achieved. Keepod believes that their solution is much more cost effective and much easier to replace than a broken or corrupted PC. Keepod launched a crowdfunding opportunity on Indiegogo for a targeted goal of raising a mere $38,000 for the Nairobi Portable USB OS Project.

13 Comments
  1. It makes me happy to see people working hard to make technology readily available for ALL people. I believe the Keepod is definitely heading in the right direction! Hopefully the price is reasonable for its intended audience. Also, the apple compatibility probably won’t be a problem, considering the price of one and the intended audience of the Keepod!

  2. That’s some great news! The idea of a portable OS is really cool, I’ve made one before with a Windows OS and I have to say it is really convenient especially when you need to carry your stuff around all the time and you don’t want to carry a laptop. As for the benefits for the Third World countries, well I’m not really sure how this would deeply impact them, most people in these countries probably don’t even have a computer to plug it in. But its great that people are doing something to help the communities in need.

  3. This is awesome. It’s nice to see that they are thinking of smaller third world countries and putting an effort towards their advancement as well as ours. We have so much power and technology that it doesn’t hurt to share a little with the unprivileged societies around the world. If we can help the world through one little boot-able USB drive, then we could do so much more. I can’t wait to hear stories about how this company helped turn a small non-sanitary third world country into a thriving community. This could help build allies with smaller countries or even make stronger ties with our third world allies that we already have! (if we have any). This company has got a good head on its shoulders.

  4. Third world countries like mine are still lagging behind in technology development. One way to improve is to educate people with computer knowledge. I’m happy that someone is actually thinking about this.

  5. Commendable work from these engineers. Whatever opinion one may have of these efforts, I think it is great to have a group of people committed to solving the problems of the world in an active fashion, not behind a desk like many politicians choose to.

    These guys should find a way to contact the Manufacturers in cities like Guangzhou in China. The prices of some ARM devices are becoming truly economic. To a point never before seen! There is a company pushing for a $25 smartphone. Mind you.

    http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/meet-the-company-behind-the-25-mozilla-firefox-os-smartphone-1230515

  6. I love seeing companies making efforts like this to help less fortunate countries. But we always have to consider their motivation and what is in it for them. I will be keeping an eye on this as it develops to see what the future holds.

  7. It’s great that better technology is becoming available for every part if the country. I am glad that not children will have the opportunity to learn better and become more successful.

  8. It seems to be a great way to access a modern operating system with all that new software, and if it works on older models that the poor can get their hands on it would bring the Internet to their doorstep. I know a couple of shops nearby who provide old PC’s for really dirt cheap prices, so if they can get their hands on similar systems, they could have access to a whole new world.

  9. Linux has made portable OS’es available for a long time, it’s one of the hallmarks of the it. As long as you have a 16GB USB, you’ve pretty much got your own portable OS. With some version you really only need 4GB for an entire system. Good on them for helping out third world countries though!

  10. Taking something as simple as an OS and bringing it to everyone is a great idea. Many people around the world have no idea that things like this even exist. The potential of this technology is that we will be able to bring the learning component of technology to people around the world and help them learn as well.

  11. Bringing technology to third-world countries is where innovation starts. I remember reading about a child in Africa who built a water purification system, which used little electricity and could convert urine into clean water. A child in India built a braille printer using a Lego Mindstorms kit, and it performed just as well as braille printers that were thousands of dollars more expensive.

  12. This is moving. But the way the USB works is different from other USB because it’s got pre-installed additions that won’t be found elsewhere, so that must mean that… the owners of the USBs are previous receivers of technological programs for third-world countries. That’s a vicious take on sustainability, and it’s impressive.

  13. This ma not be common knowledge to most people, but this is actually the way things will turn out in the next ten years. The trend will be OS drives that are compatible with any standard and can be booted live, like Ubuntu. It’s easy, convenient, and very cheap.

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