Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The $100 Laptop Computer - All Systems Go!


Another milestone has been crossed. Almost two years ago, maybe less there was serious discussions about creating a universal laptop computer that could be used in a variety of environments, specifically designed for children in poor or economical disadvantaged countries.

A few months back I saw a photo of the prototype for this machine. I had no idea they would be ready for production this soon. The specs on the machine are:
  • Runs on a specially created version of the Linux operating system
  • Has the ability to display in color or a high resolution version of black and white depending on the environmental or power needs at the time
  • Built in wireless that can network with other notebooks to create a network
  • Has no hard drive but will have 4 USB ports for additional storage needs
  • Has built in web browser, word processor and journal functions.
There is a great deal of debate about this machine. One could argue that providing a sustainable source of water, food, shelter, health care or, in the case of the poor souls in Darfur, help and assistance to stop the genocide from continuing might be more important than delivering a $100 laptop computer.

My understanding of one the long view goals of the project is to begin building a universal infrastructure for education. That all children no matter where they are on the planet have access to the basic tools for learning.

The machines at this time can only be purchased by governmental heads of education. So the laptop may cost $100 the goal is to sell millions throughout the world. My guess is that some of the western countries will donate thousands of computers to poor countries.

The method of delivering learning and information has just been radically changed. Certainly there will be international library portals that will be set-up to meet the millions of new uses about to join the Internet in the next three years. There will be an huge demand for all kinds of information.

To learn more about the project visit http://www.laptop.org or the wiki at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Home

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