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Quanta says first cloud computing devices due out next year

Quanta Computer, the world's largest contract notebook computer manufacturer, will release its first cloud computing products next year as it seeks growth in new markets, the company's chairman said.

The announcement comes a month after Quanta paid $25 million to extend its research funding and work with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the MIT to develop new cloud computing and mobile technologies. The partnership between the company and the school is called Project T-Party.

Quanta plans to develop a range of cloud computing products tailored to use multiple operating systems and components. These products will be less expensive than traditional information technology products and offer new user experiences, said Barry Lam, founder and chairman of Quanta Computer, at a press conference.

“This will include client devices,” he said, adding that “this will be an important growth area for Quanta.” He declined to comment on whether the device launched next year will be made in conjunction with MIT.

The company has been challenged in recent years by rivals in the contract laptop making business and has seen its profit margins squeezed. Quanta hopes a move to working on new products will revive growth.

Quanta has worked with MIT on other projects. The company manufactures laptops for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), the organization founded by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte devoted to building low-cost mini-laptops to distribute to children in developing countries.

Quanta is CSAIL's only strategic partner and its largest sponsor.

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