Archive for October 2nd, 2005

MIT Media Lab unveils the details of $ 100 Laptop; OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) will ship it in year 2007

October 2, 2005

It was interesting to see Professor Nicholoas Negroponte, Director of Media Lab, MIT announcing the launch of OLPC and showing off the first designs of $ 100 PC that he talked about in World Economic Forum last year. Economist talked about this development yesterday; there is a lot of heightened expectations.

It is promising, but one has to keep one’s fingers crossed about the many assumptions; they plan to sell directly millions of pieces- one million is the minimum- to Ministries of Education in China, Brazil, Thailand and Egypt; they plan to use low-cost $ 35 dual LDC display; there is no storage and there is a definitive need for connectivity and content.

Will Governments be able to buy in millions directly without a “tendering process”? Will the display stand the heat & dust as well as usage by high school kids? Will not the cost of communications and other useful content + software take away the charm of “low cost”?

With $ 20-40 mobile phones a reality today, will it not be worthwhile for the Governments to subsidize the last mile communications cost (with communications being far more useful to the child’s entire family than computing that is targeted primarily for the children)? Can large-scale project take off without extensive field trials?

These are issues I am sure the learned professors at MIT must have addressed; the only doubt is whether professors at MIT can really “feel” the “reality” in third world countries.

Only time will tell if the project succeeds in the field.