Mecer has always been a proudly South African brand that supports local.
For example, Mecer PCs are assembled in South Africa by South Africans, which provides jobs and training in the growing ICT sector.
Campaigns such as #WeAreAllSouthAfrican highlight this strong commitment to the country, but the new Mecer Smart notebook series takes this further with a first-to-market PC that has built-in LTE.
These notebooks are designed specifically for South Africans who need access to Windows and the Internet at all times, from anywhere, but who do not have access to WiFi.
We chatted to Anle Els, Product Manager at Mustek, and John Press, Local Device Partner Lead at Microsoft, about this plug and play notebook that’s connected the moment you flip up your screen.
Why is built-in LTE capability in a notebook such an important option for South Africa?
South Africa is heavily reliant on LTE and 4G to connect to the Internet.
Only a small percentage of the population has home WiFi, and we’ve seen how this has impacted working from home for students and employees.
The alternative is to drive around looking for a coffee shop, battling with a personal hotspot on a mobile device or struggling with a dongle.
Mecer is first-to-market with a notebook that supports a SIM card without the need of a dongle, which removes the challenges of being unable to get online.
Until this point a dongle has been the solution. How does built-in LTE solve some of the issues people experience with dongles?
Theoretically, dongles are great.
In practice though, you never have your dongle with you when you need it, or the port isn’t working properly, or it’s a mobile WiFi hotspot dongle and isn’t charged.
The result is that many people will receive a dongle when they purchase their notebooks, but they don’t end up using it because it’s just not convenient.
One of the reasons why tablets and smartphones are so useful is because they are always connected.
Almost everything we do requires us to be connected to the Internet, and Mecer Smart just removes one more barrier to that by connecting directly through data.
Is a tablet an alternative to an LTE-enabled notebook?
The Mecer Smart is preloaded with Windows 10, which makes it a completely different productivity tool when compared to a tablet.
Tablets are ideal for consuming media, but they aren’t designed for writing assignments or reports, for example.
We’ve seen that consumers are moving away from tablets towards their smartphones, but there’s been a gap for students, parents who need computers and employees who want to be able to work on their own machines, either because their jobs don’t necessarily provide a computer or because they need a personal PC.
How will you be taking the Mecer Smart to market?
Our focus is on partnering with telcos.
This is a very specific, focused product that is designed for South Africans who do not have WiFi at home.
They rely on data but haven’t been able to benefit from everything that a computer offers because of the limitations of getting online.
Together, a SIM card and data contract are the magic bullet that gets scholars, students and employees online when they could previously only use their phones.
Because Mecer Smart is preloaded with Windows 10, it’s opening up a whole new world for anyone who has digital workloads.
How does the fact that Mecer is a local brand benefit customers?
Mecer is the proprietary brand of Mustek, South Africa’s leading assembler and distributor of branded PCs, all-in-ones, notebooks, tablets, inverters, UPSs and related products.
This means that Mecer PCs are assembled in South Africa by South Africans.
There are a number of key benefits to this.
First, it’s the reason why Mecer has been able to design and build a notebook that specifically addresses a key South African challenge, which is that WiFi is not freely available for most of the population.
Second, locally-built means that Mecer and Mustek can provide South Africans with the latest technology at the most affordable price, which is extremely important when we’re talking about getting people online with Windows productivity tools for the first time.
It’s a gamechanger for people who want to advance their digital skills and knowledge.
Finally, and most importantly, it means that there is local support.
There are Mecer walk-in branches across the country that ensure the best possible technical and after sales support.
To find out more about the Mecer Smart notebook series, click here.