$100 Laptop Moves Closer to Reality

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Thursday, September 29, 2005

Nicholas Negroponte, the co-founder of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, detailed specifications for a $100 windup-powered laptop targeted at children in developing nations.
MIT 100$ PC
Negroponte, who laid out his original proposal at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, said MIT and his nonprofit group, called One Laptop Per Child, is in discussions with five countries - Brazil, China, Thailand, Egypt and South Africa - to distribute up to 15 million test systems to children.

“It’s an education project, not a laptop project.”
He said a goal of the project is to make the low-cost PC idea a grassroots movement that will spread in popularity, like the Linux operating system or the Wikipedia, free online encyclopedia.

The proposed design of the machines calls for a 500MHz processor, 1GB of memory and an innovative dual-mode display that can be used in full-color mode, or in a black-and-white sunlight-readable mode. Power for the new systems will be provided through either conventional electric current, batteries or by a windup crank attached to the side of the notebooks, since many countries targeted by the plan do not have power in remote areas.
Indian Low Cost Computer
In about a month or so, Novatium, an Indian Company founded by Rajesh Jain, a local entrepreneur who sold the IndiaWorld portal for $115 million in cash in 2000, plans to offer a stripped-down home computer for about $70 or $75. Adding a monitor doubles the price to $150, but the company will offer used displays to keep the cost down.

Instead of a microprocessor, it will contain a digital signal processor, possibly from Analog Devices, that compresses and decompresses music and video files. In addition to lowering costs, the technology is designed to provide access to the full range of the Internet without slowing down the machine’s operations.

Using Linux applications and software from Jain’s Netcore Solutions, these machines will be tweaked so that multiple people can safely use them. This would reduce the cost of memory in the server that does the bulk of the computing work for the Novatium thin clients on its network.

Jain will try to establish “operator grids,” local businesses that run the servers while acting as an Internet service provider. Eventually, instead of buying their machines, he said customers could have the option of paying a grid operator $15 to $20 a month for all hardware, software and storage needs.

Sources: Link and Link

Update: Interestingly WSJ posted a story with the same title and almost same content on Nov 17th 2005.

Filed under: Headline News, India, Linux, Technology, USA

October 3, 2005: 1:08 am

[...] Bryan discovers that iPod scratches can be removed with Brasso. Bonnie gives us a short reading from her deceased iBook. Michael releases K2 r96 and announces that “Vader” will be bundled with every release as an example of a custom style. Brian quickly analyses the future of Web 2.0. Khaled would like to hear your opinions on the WordPress Dashboard. Jon believes that “Google Calendar may be days away from launch”. Angsuman discovers some very interesting specifications for MIT’s “$100 Laptop”. And, Mark is “definitely excited about Serenity“. [...]

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