[Paleopsych] Red Herring: The hundred-buck PC
checker at panix.com
Tue Feb 1 15:54:40 UTC 2005
The hundred-buck PC
[So once everyone has computers--I presume online instruction will be
nearly free--and everyone has access to education, there will be no more
need for redistribution to achieve equality of opportunity world-wide
after one more generation.]
MIT's Nicholas Negroponte pushes a cheap PC for the rest of the world.
January 29, 2005
The founder and chairman of the MIT Media Lab wants to create a $100
portable computer for the developing world. Nicholas Negroponte,
author of Being Digital and the Wiesner Professor of Media Technology
at MIT, says he has obtained promises of support from a number of
major companies, including Advanced Micro Devices, Google,
Motorola, Samsung, and News Corp.
The low-cost computer will have a 14-inch color screen, AMD chips, and
will run Linux software, Mr. Negroponte said during an interview
Friday with Red Herring at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland. AMD is separately working on a cheap desktop computer for
emerging markets. It will be sold to governments for wide
Mr. Negroponte and his supporters are planning to create a company
that would manufacture and market the new portable PCs, with MIT as
one of the stakeholders. It is unclear precisely what role the other
four companies will play, although Mr. Negroponte hopes News Corp.
will help with satellite capacity.
An engineering prototype is nearly ready, with alpha units expected by
year's end and real production around 18 months from now, he said. The
portable PCs will be shipped directly to education ministries, with
China first on the list. Only orders of 1 million or more units will
Mr. Negroponte's idea is to develop educational software and have the
portable personal computer replace textbooks in schools in much the
same way that France's Minitel videotext terminal, which was developed
by France Telecom in the 1980s, became a substitute for phone
Mr. Negroponte has been interested in developing computing in the
developing world for some time. He and his wife have funded three
schools in rural Cambodia, helping outfit them with regular laptops
and broadband connections.
Major companies from Hewlett-Packard to Microsoft to Dupont,
facing saturated markets in the richest industrial countries, have
shown an interest in developing less expensive products to sell in
low-income countries in south Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
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