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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the linux, technology category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

The $100 Laptop

Nicholas Negroponte, Professor of Media Technology at MIT has revealed the design for a $100 laptop, to be distributed to children, initially in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, and South Africa, by Negroponte’s charity, One Laptop Per Child.

From the BBC report:

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.

The laptop will be more rugged and flexible than ordinary ones 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.

From the MIT page:

When these machines pop out of the box, they will make a mesh network of their own, peer-to-peer. This is something initially developed at MIT and the Media Lab.

It seems to me that, in designing a low-cost laptop for educational use in developing nations, the folk at MIT have also come up with the perfect laptop, full stop. I wonder if they’ll offer it for sale at a premium — $300, say — to subsidise the work of the One Laptop Per Child scheme, or if the low price depends on huge bulk orders by NGOs and government departments. (And, yes, I do realise it’s a bit iffy getting all gadget-lusty over this project.)

See also: the Simputer, a handheld device with similar aims launched last March, Bridging the digital divide, a Guardian piece on the $100 laptop from last February, A Lesson in Computer Literacy from India’s Poorest Kids, on the Hole In the Wall computer experiment, and, tangentially, On the Joys of Primitive Computing: The AlphaSmart Neo.

Posted at 3pm on 30/09/05 by Jack Mottram to the linux, technology category.
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  1. Gadget lust is fine, when it’s such a genuinely good/ethical idea. The noosphere awakes! We need the software and web portals to line up though: wouldn’t it be cool if each one of these devices enabled a link up to a “Global Friends” network? So we could start to match develping world need to developed world skills? (one for Hope you’re well, Jack, best pk

    Posted by pat kane at 4pm on 30.09.05

  2. Nah, you are in good company mot, I too, drooled at the idea!

    Posted by missbadger at 5pm on 30.09.05

  3. Thank you for giving us the scoop on this program, Jack. I don’t differ from you in getting excited about the product. But I think Negroponte’s project conflicts with my politics a bit.

    It sure seems to me that if we can spend $100 on a laptop for kids in these counties, we could easily spend that money on food and clothing for children there and elsewhere that need it much more than they need Wi Fi…

    Posted by Jez at 8pm on 30.09.05

  4. Do you mean Asus eee pc laptop? it is designed for chirlden

    Posted by battery at 8am on 02.06.09

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