$100 laptops

kinnon —  October 1, 2005 — 3 Comments

100Usd-LaptopI’ve said this before – computing and communications technology is rapidly approaching a price point where it is virtually free. The laptop computer that MIT’s Media Lab is designing with support from Google, Red Hat (Linux) and AMD is a case in point. From Search Engine Journal:

MIT’s plans for a $100 durable laptop to be distributed to the children of the world were announced today with pictures of the laptops and the distribution plan. Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and co-founder of the MIT’s Media Lab, confirmed that five countries are already putting plans in place to distribute as many as 15 million of the devices.  

Handcrank-1Those target countries are Brazil, China, Egypt, South Africa and Thailand.

Running Open Source software, this robust little unit is designed for use in the harshest environments and features a hand cranked battery charger for those places where power is not available. For more design details, check out the MIT page here.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

3 responses to $100 laptops

  1. There have been similar experiments before in India and it was not such a huge success. It heavily depends on volumes and also on depends on other support infrastructure to succeed. Not sure if the the big $100 news takes into account the need for support infrastructure for this to succeed. Don’t know how these will operate in place that don’t even have proper telecom infrastructure. Check out my blog for more.

  2. Venkatesh,
    Your blog post is well taken. I especially appreciate the description of the kids in the slums using computers in the experiment by NIIT. One of the critical needs in the developing world is education. These laptops should be an effective tool for that. As the Search Engine Journal post points out, Google’s involvement with the project in light of their WiFi and WiMax efforts – and the fact that they are moving onto the NASA campus – suggests that wireless infrastructure will play a key role in this.

    I’ve taught at a college level in East Africa where my students would give up just about anything to have a laptop like this – just so they could increase their knowledge. The infrastructure will be critical to the success of the $100 laptop and that infrastructure is not an insurmountable problem.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. The only thing I find disturbing about this is Google’s association with the project. I’ve aired my opinion on my blog, but basically I find it a little distasteful and predatory that Google who make their money from advertisements is involved in the effort. Where exactly do Google fit in the building of hardware?

    Thanks for making me think about this though. Good post.


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