Thursday, September 29, 2005

$100 Laptops for Education

Mockup of the New $100 Laptop Posted by Picasa

There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip as Shakespeare put it. The plans to produce 100 million of these fine machines may never come to fruition. If they do, I want one! Plans call for the first batch to go to children in less-developed countries, so I might have to wait awhile.

The $100 laptop is the brainchild or Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman and founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Labs. He came up with the idea after visiting a Camodian village. As befits a product designed to work where electricity might not be available, the machines will have a hand crank to supply power when other energy sources are not available.

Here are additional features:

The laptops will be encased in rubber to make them more durable, and their AC adaptors will also act as carrying straps.

The Linux-based machines are expected to have a 500MHz processor, with flash memory instead of a hard drive which has more delicate moving parts.

They will have four USB ports, and will be able to connect to the net through wi-fi - wireless net technology - and will be able to share data easily.

It will also have a dual-mode display so that it can still be used in varying light conditions outside. It will be a colour display, but users will be able to switch easily to monochrome mode so that it can be viewed in bright sunlight, at four times normal resolution.

Bravo and good luck to Mr. Negroponte and his team. If he succeeds, education here in the U.S. and around the world will be revolutionized. E-books, which are much cheaper than printed books, will lower the cost of education and increase literacy in countries where literacy rates are low.

The first prototype of the $100 laptop is scheduled to be shown this November. With Google and other big names in technology backing the project, if a $100 laptop is economically and technologically feasible, we can look forward to truly ubiquitous computing.


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Anonymous Anita said...

Here's a real comment:

I think the potential for the $100 laptop is great, and not just because of the price. From what I've read, the plan is to reconfigure the laptop in its entirety, to streamline it so that it will make today's machines look like clunkers. Can't wait for that change...and I wonder what the market will look like when it's happened.

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Blogger Elizabeth G said...

That sounds great! I'd be more willing to pay for that than traditional textbooks, even if it makes taking notes on the text harder.

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