Thursday, September 29, 2005

Computing for the masses

The BBC and others are reporting (and here ) that Nicholas Negroponte has released the specs for his $100 laptop. This machine will be Linux based and potentially run as a thin client with support from Google. Originally designed for use in the third world, they will be appearing in the US shortly as well, and at the same cost as the graphing calculator that secondary students are purchasing now, we could see a real interesting shift by the end of the decade - between this and the cell phone, there could be some really interesting things emerge in terms of how we can have students interact with information. The second BBC story notes that in the test project in Cambodia, the laptops there were cherished by the villagers as they found that they were much more than merely "books". It also notes that Negroponte ambitiously hopes that these laptops will become as ubiquitous as phones. The only downside that I can see right now is that in order to really take off, some commercial benefit will be required for developers to create apps and content for these machines (maybe that is where Google will step in). But then again, these machines will be targets at government ministries who will load them up with what is needed. Not selling these to the consumer will be a massive bonus in this regard. But then the textbook publishers (who will be losing a massive share of business) may step in to potentially spoil the pot. But then again, they may realize that they have to change (finally!) and provide decent content for these machines, and then perhaps make additional content and updates available online (these machines will all have wireless access). Edit - Manual trackback Erick's Blog. Technorati Tags: , , ,