Rumor has it, tablet shipments are on course to overtake PCs by 2015. While a quick look around your local train station or coffeehouse may well add credence to this, it seems Google is setting out to accelerate this transition.

The Internet giant is looking to increase Internet usage in Africa, thus growing the number of people that can access its own online services, and its latest initiative is an interesting one to say the least.

Given the inherent expense of PCs and associated peripherals, Google has kitted out an Internet cafe in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, with 15 tablets which now replace its computers. The Equinox cybercafé is making them available for about $0.60 an hour, which is the typical price of a standard Internet cafe session.

Here’s a before and after snapshot of the cafe in question.

go 730x276 Google replaces computers with tablets in a Senegal cybercafé
It’s not all lounges and sofas, however. While that is given as an option, booths are still available should someone wish to partake in a private video chat, and docking stations are also available for those with a penchant for physical keyboards.

Users can also download any app that they wish and, at the end of each session, staff carry out a factory reset to remove any private data. This probably means that there will be a delay between sessions given it can take several minutes for a full factory reset and reboot to take place.

“Our hope is that cybercafés attract new customers interested in a more simple and interactive way of going online, and make significant savings on their number one operating expense: electricity,” explains Alex Grouet, Business Development Manager, Francophone Africa and Yomi Oyesiku, Program Manager, Emerging Markets Access in their blog post. “Tablets consume much less power than desktops or laptops, and don’t require ventilation. Among other things, these savings can be reinvested in faster connectivity.”

It’s an interesting idea for sure, and it’s not quite clear yet whether Google will continue this initiative in other areas of Senegal or, indeed, Africa in general.

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock