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  1. #1
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    $125 Laptop To Be Launched This Month!

    A $125 laptop which has described as being ideal for schools and children is set to be launched this month.

    A $125 laptop which has described as being ideal for schools and children is set to be launched this month. Developed by the famous MIT Media Laboratory in Boston the notebook computer will start appearing in volume in late 2006.

    Nicholas Negroponte, the lab's chairman and co-founder said at the Emerging Technologies Conference in the USA that "In emerging nations, the issue isn't connectivity," "That's not solved, but lots of people are working on it in Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, etc. For education, the roadblock is laptops." He and his colleagues believe that equipping all children in the world with their own laptop will greatly improve the level of education and help stimulate children to learn outside of school as well as in the classroom.


    Click to enlarge

    The lab expects to unveil a prototype of the $125 laptop at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) on Nov. 17, according to Negroponte. The WSIS is due to be held in Tunis, Tunisia, from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18. He showed slides of the prototype at the MIT event.The 500MHz laptop will run a "skinny version" of the open-source Linux operating system. It will have a two-mode screen, so it can be viewed in color and then by pushing a button or activating software switch to a black-and-white display, which can be viewed in bright sunlight at four times normal resolution, according to Negroponte. He estimates the display will cost around $35.

    The laptop can be powered either with an AC adapter or via a wind-up crank, which is stored in the housing of the laptop where the hinge is located. The laptops will have a 10 to 1 crank rate, so that a child will crank the handle for one minute to get 10 minutes of power and use. When closed, the hinge forms a handle and the AC cord can function as a carrying strap, according to Negroponte. The laptops will be ruggedized and probably made of rubber, he said. They will have four USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, be Wi-Fi- and cell phone enabled and come with 1GB of memory. Each laptop will act as a node in a mesh peer-to-peer ad hoc network, Negroponte said, meaning that if one laptop is directly accessing the Internet, when other machines power on, they can share that single online connection.

    The lab will initially target Brazil, China, Egypt, South Africa and Thailand, according to Negroponte, as well as the U.S. state of Massachusetts, which has just committed to equipping every schoolchild with a laptop. Negroponte hopes to start mass production of some 5 million to 15 million laptops for those markets towards the end of 2006. Come December 2007, he estimated production of the laptops at between 100 million and 150 million, three times the number of annual shipments of commercial laptops.

    Negroponte launched a nonprofit spin-off from the lab to spearhead the development of the notebook at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. The nonprofit is called One Laptop Per Child, or OLPC. The lab and OLPC are working with a number of key partners including Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Google Inc., News Corp. and Red Hat Inc. on developing the laptop, according to Negroponte.

    "I've told the governments that our price will float and go down over time," Negroponte said. "$100 is still too expensive." Each government will need to pay for one million laptops in advance to ensure the lab and its partners can achieve the necessary scale to persuade companies to mass produce the machines, he added. He didn't provide any further details on how exactly the vast number of machines will be produced and shipped to their final destinations.

    The laptop can be used in a variety of ways as a computer, an electronic book, a television and a writing or drawing tablet, according to Negroponte.

    One issue the lab is particularly sensitive to is the grey market for computers, Negroponte said. "It's a big deal for us whether laptops vanish in customs or are stolen," he said. "We want to have a machine that's so distinctive it'd be like stealing a post office truck." The lab is even thinking of having each child's name engraved on each laptop as an additional theft deterrent, he added.

    Another obstacle is the online access schoolchildren in repressive regimes will gain. "I do tell governments we're selling you a Trojan horse," Negroponte said, adding it's really up to the children as to what they access from the Internet. The huge issue he sees with the technology is how education curricula around the globe will change in response to the introduction of the laptops and Web access. "It's something that will take decades to sort out properly," he said.

    As to children accessing pornography, the lab is working on how best to block harmful online content, he said. However, Negroponte asks people not to blame the medium. "Pornography uses the printed page, but [Johannes] Gutenberg [the inventor of the printing press] isn't getting much flak," he quipped.

    MIT Media Lab has been involved in a number of initiatives to provide schoolchildren with laptops in the past, in Senegal and in Costa Rica and Negroponte has his own projects in Cambodia, but this is the first global push for the lab with a mobile computer developed from scratch
    Now, I think that setting laptops at $125 is a good idea for Children, but cranking your laptop for juice? I think that is a little bit weird.

  2. #2
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    cranking your laptop for juice? I think that is a little bit weird
    Nah...LINUX users are used to that.
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  3. #3
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    Heck I wish my laptop had that I would be more than happy to crank away for 6 minutes to get an hour of power which is about all I get on a full battery anyway.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AHS_Wrestler
    Now, I think that setting laptops at $125 is a good idea for Children, but cranking your laptop for juice? I think that is a little bit weird.
    Yeah, it would get tiring to crank the laptop for several minutes just for a half hour or an hour of use. Then again, I suppose it's cheaper than a battery -- especially for those who can't afford one.

    I really like what Massachusetts is trying to do. I think it'd be great if every schoolchild had a laptop, but somehow I don't see it happening for a while. As Negroponte himself says, $100 is just too expensive for large purchases. I don't know exactly how many kids Massachusetts has, nor what their plan is for determining which kids (age-wise, most likely) get laptops, but I'd suppose it's more than a million. So, they'd have to spend at least $100 million for laptops for all their kids -- seems ambitious to me. They need to figure out a way to reduce the cost and price of the laptops.

  5. #5
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    Its $100 now!

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051117-5594.html

    (images included)

    Peace,
    Testing 1.. Testing 1..2.. Testing 1..2..3...

  6. #6
    Rofl the crank, its huge =D

  7. #7
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    I paid $100 for my TI-83 Plus graphic calculator. I wouldn't mind paying $150 if it meant a keyboard and color screen(and a battery).
    Can you be scared half to death twice?

  8. #8
    i am happy computers are now making their way to the third world. AMD launched the 50x15 project a few years ago. 50x15.amd.com/Global/ why do i have the urge to hack this little puppy. radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2146448&cp=&brandCode=1000094&parentPage=search

  9. #9
    radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2146448&cp=&brandCode=1000094&parentPage=search

    Doesn't Work

  10. #10
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    Jodohost Operations Manager Twitter status feed: https://twitter.com/jodohostcom
    Now offering Plesk Hosting on Windows or Linux.

  11. #11
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    Doesnt sound too bad for $100
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  12. #12
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    I think is great, and I will not be suprise if college students on third world contries start using this computer, it may be they only access to a personal computer they may ever get.

    I would love to see this project taking off as soon as possible.
    Jorge Campos | WBpro
    Web Building Professionals
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SniperDevil
    I think it'd be great if every schoolchild had a laptop, but somehow I don't see it happening for a while. As Negroponte himself says, $100 is just too expensive for large purchases. I don't know exactly how many kids Massachusetts has, nor what their plan is for determining which kids (age-wise, most likely) get laptops, but I'd suppose it's more than a million. So, they'd have to spend at least $100 million for laptops for all their kids -- seems ambitious to me. They need to figure out a way to reduce the cost and price of the laptops.
    Textbooks are $65 and above, and this could replace many textbooks.
    --

  14. #14
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    Soo.. has anyone figured out where we can buy one of these gadgets?

    I want to take it apart soooo badly.

  15. #15
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    The MIT website said the devices will not be available to the public, rather only government institutions.
    --

  16. #16
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    Guys, your forgetting that not everywhere has a power point you can plug into. It's become so usual to us that everywhere we go automatically has electricity, but that's not the case in Africa.

  17. #17
    I would crank away for only 100 bucks, and most students woudl too

  18. #18
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    A crank would be really useful for commuters in large cities. Especially if you've got 45m on Mass Transit and you forgot to charge it before you left. Wonder how long until a crank of some sort finds there way into the general marketplace (ie - Not .gov only)?
    Matt Toback .:|:. Ubersmith
    Infrastructure Automation, Billing, & Helpdesk Software
    http://www.ubersmith.com

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