Super (Cheap) PC

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One Laptop Per Child seeks to put the power of computing into each set of tiny hands.

Nicholas Negroponte set out to build a $100 laptop so that children in third world nations could get on the Internet with everyone else.

People thought he was crazy.

Intel knows he is.

But in November, Negroponte's dream comes true when 5,000 units come off the assembly lines at Quanta Computers. Quanta, one of the world's biggest computer manufacturers, signed on earlier to partner up with the One Laptop Per Child initiative, and the first test units are due next month. The new units, called the XO, are low power laptops that can be hand-generated in areas without electrical outlets.
Media Credit: Courtest of OLPC
Fortune Magazine senior writer David Kirkpatrick illustrated some level of doubt about the project, especially from Intel CEO Craig Barrett, who wrote a letter to the Nigerian government that stated, "The OLPC represents a limited version of the modern PC, reliant on old hardware that limits its functionality."


The computer actually uses an ultra-low power technology provided by – survey says – AMD, Intel's biggest rival.

It was a strategic misstep and a bad piece of publicity for Intel, already seen as the stumbling giant against the hipper AMD.

Negroponte may be idealistic, but he is actually putting computers into the hands of those who simply wouldn't have them otherwise.

What's more, the computer is pretty hot. It serves as a laptop and a tablet PC with energy saving features you can't even get in most current laptops that would costs thousands. The XO has on-board audio, USB ports and limitless usage as a pull string (which replaced a hand crank) is used to power a generator manually.

This is admirable work, and it's coming to fruition. Good for Negroponte.

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  • Think what other things could be done to bring the world together by business, scientists, governments… Luckily there are people who see a real need and fill it. Thanks for telling us about it.

  • That is flat-out amazing. Any word on what type of operating system it uses and it’s capabilities?