Intel, Saudi partners to build electronic Qur'an

Intel Corp. teams up with two Saudi Arabian companies to develop an electronic version of Islam's holy book and a computer with government-approved school curriculum.

Intel Corp. has teamed up with two Saudi Arabian software companies to develop an electronic version of Islam's holy book, the Qur'an, and a computer packed with the government-approved curriculum for schoolchildren.

Intel, which is based in California and is the world's largest computer chip maker,said the projects are part of broader push to bring low-cost computing and internet access to emerging markets.

Intel chairman Craig Barrett attended the product launch in Saudi Arabia over the weekend as part of an overseas trip to unveil wireless internet technology that Intel installed in the small Egyptian city of Oseem. An Intel development center in Cairo designed the hardware for both Saudi Arabian projects.

The E-Quran is a small computer with wireless internet access that contains the text of the holy book, audio recitations in 40 different languages and interactive interpretations of the material.

Intel said it partnered with Dar Al Rasm Al-Othmani, a software company focused on religious content that contracted with an outside firm to have the devices manufactured.

Santa Clara-based Intel said it had no plans to commercialize or brand the devices, which are powered by low-power Intel processors, which act as the calculating brains of computers.

Computers for teachers

The other product is called E-Curriculum and was developed with Semanoor, an educational software company.

The device is a portable, Intel-designed computer for teachersthat is integrated with software containing Saudi government-approved curriculum for kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Semanoor said the program is currently being implemented in public and private schools throughout the Middle Eastern country.