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Update: $100 Laptops for African Kids

$100 Dollar Computer for KidsNot exactly new news, but something that I did want to update everyone on. The $100 computer project that MIT has been working on for the last couple years has now been rolled out. It’s a bright green (I’m not sure why they chose that color) bit of useful hardware, built for everyday use by kids in third-world countries.

$100 computer unveiled at WSISNegroponte, the whiz behind MIT’s Media Lab, recently unveiled at the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Big names in technology are interested: Bill Gates, Michael Dell and Steve Jobs just to name a few. Companies like Google and AMD have provided some financial backing, and governments around the world are starting to place orders. Overall, he’s done a masterful job of creating buzz within this high-profile group of mega millionnaires and heads of state, which might be all that’s needed to provide enough cash flow for this project to take off.

What I think is great, is that Negroponte is discussing the idea of making a model to sell to the public. It would retail at around $150, and would help subsidize the non-profit model. Again a masterful stroke to gain awareness and dollars. I know I will buy one, if for nothing more than testing. Think of how many others might buy enough for a village, town or school all on their own.

What’s in the package?

… 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. (from Fortune Magazine)

3 Comments

  1. I read about this earlier and thought they would never get it off the ground. How long will it take them to do the same for American kids? Many colleges already give a laptop to students as part of their tuition cost. At least now we will have a chance at similar addictions.

  2. great update thanks. just made me think of something i saw on world changing where a solar powered stop light can also work as a wifi network…will be back with the trackback…

  3. how can one make a purchase of the $100 laptop computer foe the african child

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