9.29.2005

$100 laptop: MIT puts Hummer to shame.

A month ago, Hummer announced it'd sell a branded laptop computer that would be nearly indestructible. Able to survive being dropped, getting doused in a rainstorm, and having coffee spilled on it (these things happen when off-roading between the Starbucks and home), the computers should appeal to an "aspirational and exclusive" target market, one that would happily afford a pricetag of between $2988 and $3329. In delightful contrast, the MIT Media Lab, led by visionary Nicholas Negroponte, has announced its plan for a nearly indestructible computer to be distributed to needy kids around the world—a $100 laptop running an open-source Linux operating system, with a crank that allows its user to generate power when no electricity is available. The machine will be WiFi ready, have an AC power cord that'll double as a carrying strap, a screen that'll switch from color to glare-resistant black-and-white for outdoor uses, and a rubber casing that'll snap shut to keep out dust or moisture.

Negroponte says that within a year his nonprofit One Laptop Per Child will produce between 5 and 15 million machines, which he plans to begin shipping to children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, and South Africa. Othe specs include a 500 mhz processor, flash memory (instead of a hard drive), and four USB drives. A huge salute to MIT for envisioning a humbler, more human laptop that targets a market drawn to the "inspirational and inclusive."

[Cross-posted at OffCenter.]

1 comment:

ALJ said...

your forgetting the ruggedized laptops sold by panasonic:

http://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/home.asp

sounds like hummer's laptop is just going to be panasonic's only with about 1k mark up and the hummer logo on it. toughbooks are used by u.s. gis and have been run over by hummers and used, ironically, for padding on hummbers. one dude sandwiches his next to the door of his hummer and when a bullet shattered the door, it stopped in the toughbook's casing. the laptop still works even with a bullet hole supposively.

anyway. enjoying your blog. there's a lot of ruggedized pcs out there if you haven't seen 'm.

peace,
a