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|100$ Laptop Special - FAQ|
|What is the $100 Laptop, really?
The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. These rugged laptops will be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.
Why do children in developing nations need laptops?
Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to "learn learning" through independent interaction and exploration.
Why not a desktop computer, or—even better—a recycled desktop machine?
Desktops are cheaper, but mobility is important, especially with regard to taking the computer home at night. Kids in the developing world need the newest technology, especially really rugged hardware and innovative software. Recent work with schools in Maine has shown the huge value of using a laptop across all of one's studies, as well as for play. Bringing the laptop home engages the family. In one Cambodian village where we have been working, there is no electricity, thus the laptop is, among other things, the brightest light source in the home.
Finally, regarding recyled machines: if we estimate 100 million available used desktops, and each one requires only one hour of human attention to refurbish, reload, and handle, that is forty-five thousand work years. Thus, while we definitely encourage the recycling of used computers, it is not the solution for One Laptop per Child.
How is it possible to get the cost so low?
First, by dramatically lowering the cost of the display. The first-generation machine may use a novel, dual-mode LCD display commonly found in inexpensive DVD players, but that can also be used in black and white, in bright sunlight, and at four times the normal resolution—all at a cost of approximately $35.
Second, we will get the fat out of the systems. Today's laptops have become obese. Two-thirds of their software is used to manage the other third, which mostly does the same functions nine different ways.
Third, we will market the laptops in very large numbers (millions), directly to ministries of education, which can distribute them like textbooks.
Why is it important for each child to have a computer? What's wrong with community-access centers?
One does not think of community pencils—kids have their own. They are tools to think with, sufficiently inexpensive to be used for work and play, drawing, writing, and mathematics. A computer can be the same, but far more powerful. Furthermore, there are many reasons it is important for a child to "own" something—like a football, doll, or book—not the least of which being that these belongings will be well-maintained through love and care.
What about connectivity? Aren't telecommunications services expensive in the developing world?
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. We are also exploring ways to connect them to the backbone of the Internet at very low cost.
What can a $1000 laptop do that the $100 version can't?
Not much. The plan is for the $100 Laptop to do almost everything. What it will not do is store a massive amount of data.
How will these be marketed?
The idea is to distribute the machines through those ministries of education willing to adopt a policy of "One Laptop per Child." Initial discussions have been held with China, Brazil, Thailand, and Egypt. Additional countries will be selected for beta testing. Initial orders will be limited to a minimum of one million units (with appropriate financing).
When do you anticipate these laptops reaching the market? What do you see as the biggest hurdles?
Our preliminary schedule is to have units ready for shipment by the end of 2006 or early 2007.
The biggest hurdle will be manufacturing 100 million of anything. This is not just a supply-chain problem, but also a design problem. The scale is daunting, but I find myself amazed at what some companies are proposing to us. It feels as though at least half the problems are being solved by mere resolve.
|100$ Laptop Special - Articles|
|08/26/06 MIT laptop gets a new name just in time for field tests - arstechnica
"With a 500-unit field test ready to begin in September, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program has announced that the much-anticipated, now-$140 laptop will be called Children's Machine 1 (CM1). Although MIT failed to reach the $100 price point, the Linux-based laptop is a remarkable achievement. Manufactured by Chinese hardware company Quanta, the rugged, portable computer features a 400mhz AMD Geode processor (the original prototypes had a 366mhz processor), 128MB of DRAM, built-in wireless support, and 512MB of flash memory for internal storage. ""
08/17/06 The skinny on desktop Linux pros, cons and adoption - ZDNet
""AMD is our partner, which means Intel is pissing on me. Bill Gates is not pleased either, but if I am annoying Microsoft and Intel then I figure I am doing something right," [Negroponte] said….Microsoft allegedly offered to build the operating system for the machine but was rejected by the OLPC project. Negroponte added that the project required an extremely scaled-down OS to enable the eventual machines to run at a decent speed, while using very little power. "About 25 percent of the cost of a laptop is there just to support XP, which is like a person that has gotten so fat that they use most of their muscle to move their fat," he said."
07/26/06 Nigeria orders 1m OLPC laptops - WhatPC
"The laptops are designed for children and are ruggedized to allow them to operate in dusty environments. Centred around a central server and internet connection in the school, children will be allowed to go online from home through a mesh network. The laptops will offer some kind of crank to allow for battery recharging away from a power connection."
04/04/06 Negroponte: Slimmer Linux needed for $100 laptop - CNET
"The association hopes to distribute 5 million to 10 million of the systems to children in India, China, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Egypt, and Nigeria in the first quarter of 2007, somewhat later than the late 2006 launch Negroponte predicted at the World Economic Forum last year. He hopes the project will help supply the world's billion children with an education that undertrained teachers often can't supply"
03/15/06 Bill Gates mocks MIT's $100 laptop project - Reuters
"Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates on Wednesday mocked a $100 laptop computer for developing countries being developed with the backing of rival Google Inc. at the MIT."
02/15/06 PCs for the poor: Which design will win? - CNET
"Pros: Several partners have lined up behind the computer. Red Hat will produce software, Taiwan's Quanta will make the machines; and AMD will supply the processors. When they emerge at the end of the year, the first 5 million to 15 million units will get shipped to China, Brazil, India, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria and Thailand. "
01/31/06 Gates sees cellphones as way to help Third World - USA Today
"Worse for Microsoft, if tens of millions of Negroponte's Microsoft-free laptops spread through the Third World, that kind of product base would lure developers to create more software for the machines. Major manufacturers such as Sony or Dell might decide to make better, competing supercheap non-Windows laptops."
12/20/05 Quanta's $100 Laptop Challenge - Business Online
"Now, Lam is about to put that ability to survive on razor-thin margins to its biggest test. Quanta has won the right to build an ultra-low-cost machine for One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a new U.S. nonprofit launched by Nicholas Negroponte of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working for OLPC, Quanta is going to produce a laptop that costs no more than $100 -- about one-fifth the price of even the cheapest notebook PCs on the market."
11/21/05 No amount of hype makes MIT $100 PC a reality - The Inquirer
"Even before the hardware has moved out of mockup design phase and into reality, Negroponte says that the price per laptop won't be $100, but has drifted upward to around $115. And this is before the never-before-mass-produced dual-mode LCD display has been finalised, much less cranked up to any quantities in prototype form. Don't be surprised if first run units end up arriving not in late 2006, but sometime in 2007 and costing closer to $135 to $150 once the smoke clears"
11/16/05 I'd Like to Teach The World to Type - Fortune
"Not surprisingly, the tiny laptop will be a stripped-down affair, usable for basic word-processing, Internet, and e-mail. It has no hard drive, instead using flash memory like that in a digital camera. The processor, from AMD, runs at a pokey 500 megahertz. Though spartan, the design is also ingenious: Each laptop will include a Wi-Fi radio transmitter designed to knit machines into a wireless "mesh" so they can share a Net connection, passing it from one computer to the next. Though the laptop has a power cord, that cool little crank can also provide roughly ten minutes of juice for each minute of turning. "
10/26/05 Argentina government commits to buy MIT's $100 PCs - the inquirer
"Negroponte visited Argentina brifly, invited by Education Secretary Daniel Filmus, who used the opportunity to say "Argentina is committed to join the programme and advance in the manufacture of between 500.000 and one million of these laptops" and added that it will be the first spanish speaking country to build and distribute these systems to students. "
09/30/05 MIT’s One Laptop per Child Movement Sponsored By Google
"One solution brings Google into the picture, with Global Google Wi-fi or the GoogleNet. If Google, in the next three years can fund the research behind building these wi-fi ready inexpensive laptops, they more than likely will be able to offer a global wi-fi service by then."
02/01/05 Power Politics Overshadow $100 PC Concept - eWeek
"I've been amazed at how few people in the First World really understand how important it is that PCs don't chew up wattage like an elephant munching hay. We've gotten so used to having cheap energy that we honestly don't realize we are paying to charge our mobile phones."
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