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Tue 7 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Intel targets tech-loving Kuwaitis

Following the successful implementation of a week-long home pilot scheme in Kuwait, Intel has announced that the first digital home bundles will be available to users in the country from September onwards.

Following the successful implementation of a week-long home pilot scheme in Kuwait, Intel has announced that the first digital home bundles will be available to users in the country from September onwards.

The project has been put together through Intel’s collaboration with Smartlink Telecom and regional software developer Active Mania, and will allow Smartlink’s subscribers to access a solution consisting of an entertainment PC and interactive online content operating over a wireless network, and a DSL connection. Intel claims this package will offer Kuwaiti home users new levels of quality digital entertainment.

The bundle will also feature Active Mania’s ACTISUITE solution, featuring a host of new services and applications. Rola Zakhour, Active Mania’s managing director, gave an example of one of the services on offer: “For business-minded consumers, a live Kuwait Stock Exchange service will be available, in conjunction with local news bulletins.”

Commenting on Intel’s efforts to spread the adoption of the digital home lifestyle in this region, Samir Al Schamma, the firm’s general manager in the GCC, said that Intel’s latest platforms offer “state of the art dual-core technologies that support the digital way of life.”

“Through our co-operation with the regional channel and international computer vendors, we work to make these platforms available on time in the Middle East,” Al Schamma added. “Our software enabling programs are part of this effort, where we play a role in helping regional companies to design and develop the services and content that our customers need in order to gain access to the latest technology trends that help enhance their quality of life.”

Meanwhile Abdel Fattah Samara, who is Smartlink Telecoms’ deputy general manager, added, “We have focused on providing the right content for our customers, and once they sign up, they will have access to instant and interactive local news, e-learning facilities, digital gaming and the latest Arabic and western music.

Users who opt for the bundle will be able to pay via one of several payment plans, which include pre-paid and pay-as-you-go schemes.

In order to give Kuwaiti users the chance to check out its digital home bundle before buying, Intel has set-up four example environments at locations across Kuwait. These will be up and running until June 9 at the following locations: Virgin Megastore at Marina Mall; Second Cup Cafe- Kuwait city-Stock Exchange; Second Cup Cafe- Bustan Mall-Salmiya; FCC Nokia POS at Al Fanar Complex. Each location features a plasma TV and EPC unit, complete with feature-packed digital entertainment and trained personnel to explain the digital home package in full.

A similar digital home initiative was announced in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of last month. AwalNet, a leading Saudi ISP, launched the Middle East’s first digital home subscription bundle, again in association with Active Mania.

Through this initiative, AwalNet’s ADSL subscribers are being offered Active Mania’s ActiSuite solution. Similar to the demonstrations now taking place in Kuwait, AwalNet and Active Mania installed the ‘ActiSuite Digital Home Solution’ in several homes across Riyadh, in addition to setting up showcases in retail outlets such as Sony’s showrooms. Intel claims to have helped secure the deal between AwalNet and Active Mania as part of its software enablement program.

Intel’s digital home push in Kuwait follows the launch last month of its new platforms: namely its Pentium D processor with two processing cores (a.k.a. its first desktop ‘dual-core’ CPUs); and its Intel 945 Express Chipset family, which has been designed to support consumer electronics-like features such as surround-sound audio, high-definition video and enhanced graphics capabilities.

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