First Bulgarian laptop: the Pravetz legend braces for a comeback

After 30 years, a legend braces for a comeback. In this way the ambitious Bulgarian engineers behind the restart the Bulgarian computer brand Pravetz made during communism, have announced their plans to manufacture a laptop under the famous brand. The news has become vastly popular online and has sparked off a discussion about the revival of the Bulgarian Silicon Valley.

In fact, the news about the soon-to-be released Bulgarian laptop with the name Pravetz 64 M has come as a shock to many Bulgarians. Some have thought it could be a kind of joke. Back in the times of communism, Bulgaria had been selected to develop high technology and in the first place computing with produce aimed for the whole Soviet bloc. In this way Bulgaria emerged as something of a Red Silicon Valley. Until 30 years ago, Pravetz computers similar to Apple 2, were manufactured in Pravetz, the native town of communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. Now, three decades on, the legend is back. The new device is going to work with its own operational system Pravetz OS and will go with free office software and an Intel processor. Besides, it will be able to work with various platforms including Android, Windows, Solaris and Chrome OS and will be complete with a 16 GB RAM memory and a 2TB hard drive. An option for the installation of a SIM card will be available too. The manufacturing company has already made prototypes and has carried out the first test sessions. The portable computer will be made in Bulgaria, but its parts will be imported from Thailand.

“The idea has been brewing for three years”, computer engineer Boyko Vutchev, the initiator of the Pravetz resurrection, says. “The brand is known to Bulgarians and is very popular. I have registered it at the Patent Department as it had been free for registration since 1991. Now I have become its new owner. I think that the tradition should go on. I am an engineer and I was involved with Pravetz back in the 1980s.”

From a hobby, computers grew into an occupation for Boyko Vutchev, and today he runs a computer business. The software of the new device has been developed by the company’s IT specialists and the interface is Bulgarian too. For the time being, the price of the device has not been named, but it will for sure be accessible for Bulgarian customers. The launch of the new laptop is expected early next year.

The manufacturing of the cult devices Pravetz 8 and Pravetz 19 started in the 1980s and peaked, as Bulgaria made 40% of the computers used in the countries of the Soviet Bloc, or 60,000 computers annually. The production was worth 13 billion dollars per annum. Owing to this boom, Bulgaria ranked third in the world back then in terms of electronic devices per capita. This was actually the start of IT development in Bulgaria.

Was Pravetz the start of the advance of Bulgarian IT companies that are respected across the globe?

“It was not only Pravets, it was about computing devices and IT in both universities and scientific centers”, Julian Maslyankov, the manager of an international IT company, says. “So, Bulgaria has got a good tradition in this area. I cannot say for sure whether it is based on the beginning of 30 years ago, or on the worldwide boom of the IT business.
I think that our successes have come despite the 30-year break. And although the state does not support this sector, there are companies quite successful on the world market”, Julian Maslyankov concludes.

English version Daniela Konstantinova

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