Laptops for the third world

XO laptopJamie came across an ad for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and it intrigued us enough for me to look into it. I have to say, this article in the N.Y. Times was compelling. It’s basically a low-cost laptop with rugged design and some pretty cool features – we’re tempted to pick one up ourselves. It doesn’t hurt that for a very reasonable price you get a laptop for your own child, the pleasure of a gift for the less-fortunate, and a tax write-off as well. My only dilemma is that this computer seems well-designed to be used as part of a network of XO machines (a special network, called a mesh) and it seems a shame to buy only one when I have two kids that could get good use out of it. The sad thing is that, while $400 sounds like we could work it into our budget, the $800 for two just sails right past *ooo-kay* and right on up to *boing-zowie*!

Now the warning – this is not your typical laptop in that it doesn’t load software (as we know it), doesn’t have a hard drive (it makes use of 1GB of flash memory), and has no CD- or DVD-drives. Still, what it does have it seems to excel at… great power management, slimmed-down open-source code (as opposed to corporate bloatware), neat extras like sound editing, picture-taking/movie-making, sharing of documents, and an e-book reader all wrapped in a durable, dirt-proof shell.

I just don’t know – very tempting… what would Dave say?


2 Responses to “Laptops for the third world”

  1. That really is a great idea. Interesting how the $100 laptop eventually became $400, but still a good concept. The idea that they don’t load software and just run on a network (ideally) is actually the way things really need to go for all computer systems.

  2. […] a possible alternative to the $400 one hundred dollar laptop, check out these specs on the so-called Everex TC2502 Green PC, a $200.00 desktop from […]

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