$USD100.00 Laptop

Once again I'm going to talk about this laptop.
I think the key feature of this laptop is to supplant books and paper for children going to school. I think that very quickly more and better free textbooks will become available. Schools and governments will make some of their textbooks and class notes available under Creative Commons type copy protection allowing others to translate to their language or make audio versions available, for example.
The latest news is that the $100.00 laptop will use Linux and not Apple OS X, Sun OS or MS Windows, as some suggested.
I would be willing to devote some of my time to help bring tools or software to this platform. For example, a better version of TuxPaint.

100$ laptop
Click image to see some more pictures.

Another interesting point that Negroponte made is that, as the technology becomes cheaper, they plan to make the laptop cost less than $100.00, rather than making a better version of the same device at the same price. If this is true it means that we will have to work within the limits of the device for a longer time.
Possibly the biggest limit is the 1 gig of 'disk' space. This may or may not be a big problem. If you think of a library, it has thousands of books, but one takes out only a few books at a time. A school might have the same thing where the 'library' is a simple computer with a 100 gig hardrive and the child downloads all the books he needs at the moment.
Other things that might be cool is being able to test or quiz online, in the classroom. Or for the textbooks to help the student test themselves on the material.
If all goes well this laptop may be in children's hands at the end of 2006 or the start of 2007.

There's an interview with Negroponte at Wired magazine. I think selling the laptop comercially for $225.00 with some of the proceeds going to help fund the $100.00 laptop is a good idea. Brazil is one of the countries that has already aggreed to buy 100,000 units. Also, from the pictures the thing looks really tiny.
By the time it comes out my son will be starting to read, and since I'm in Brazil there's always a chance that he might get one.


Anonymous said…
The effort to help the less developed world is a noble one, and some are concern that it may end up like India's Simputer.
Scott Kirkwood said…
It's a concern that it may fail just like the simputer. However, that computer had a small screen didn't have easy (wireless) connectivity and didn't have quite as much hype as the $100.00 laptop.
It's also a device from the 2002 era. The irony is that in 2005 the simputer appears to be making a bit of comeback, partly perhaps because the price has gone down.

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