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Thursday, November 30, 2006

$150 laptop for third-world kids?

Posted by: Jambo / 12:47 PM

I'm not sure what I think about trying to deliver the internet to kids in developing countries (seems they might have some more basic needs that should be met first) but this computer sounds pretty cool in its own right. That said, if there are kids out there that would benefit from this I am all for it. Anything that gives less developed nations a leg up is a good thing and whether kids there need to get online or not I could see these as being great for a lot of communities. It sounds like they are cheap enough and sturdy enough to make good public computers in some out of the way places where it might be a little too primitive for the typical internet cafe. (Tho as I think about it, I know there are schools in parts of the world that rely on donated old textbooks so if someone instead donates a laptop or two they suddenly have access to not just up to date texts but virtually every book they could want. Maybe these are a bigger boon to kids than I first thought.)

I also wonder if there isn't an untapped market in the developed world for something like this. I don't know how big the flash memory is but a computer without moving parts could be very appealing to, say, a field biologist or other researcher who wants access to a bunch of data stored back in a lab or office while at the same time being able to upload new data he or she is collecting. I know from my own field work that people are very hesitant to take a $1000 computer out in a salt water environment but at $150 (or less, as it sounds like they hope to get it down to $100 when production ramps up) one could have a cheap desktop in the lab and have a couple almost disposable computers for field work.

[You can click on the picture above to read more about the computer]


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