28 September 2005

Cheap Enough to Give Away or Lose? Priceless.

Although this concept is geared toward the developing world, the $100 laptop would be heartily welcomed in my mostly-developed one as well:

The design calls for a laptop with 500 MHz processor, 1GB memory, four USB ports and a dual-mode display usable in full-color or in black-and-white, sunlight-readable mode. Power will be provided either via conventional electric current, batteries, or via a windup crank attached to the side of the notebook for usage in remote regions without a power grid. The systems will be WiFi-enabled and able to connect via cellular networks, as well as including built-in mesh networking allowing multiple machines to share a single internet connection.

I can think of more than a few battery-challenged travelers who would probably pay $100 just to have a cranked generator built into their notebooks just in case. I know I'd prefer more built-in USB ports on my laptops, rather than legacy items like parallel and serial ports. At a hundred bones per networked computer, I could afford to have one in every room in the house, stashed in drawers here and there, as ubiquitous as scratchpaper and pens are today.

What's begun as an altruistic endeavor might just have a few benefits which "trickle upward". Who would have guessed that the impoverished developing world would get the good toys?


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