Nicholas Negroponte's $100 laptop, and the long path that’s led to his interest in the topic is the topic covered by Ethan Zuckerman. Ultimately, Nicholas believes that in all the problems we’re considering at a conference like Pop!Tech, education is part of the equation. If you can change education, it’s a key to peace, prosperity and widespread social change. Over twenty years ago, Steve Jobs gave Seymour Papert and Negroponte some computers - Apple IIs - and put they put them into a lab in Senegal. The lab wasn’t sustainable and didn’t survive, but a later lab in Costa Rica did, primarily because a local foundation was formed to support it. Nicholas sees a connection - if not a cause - between this success and the fact that Costa Rica’s main export is microchips.
A prototype shows that there's a stiff rubber gasket around the edge of the machine, which can double as a stand. The keyboard on the mockup was detachable, but will probably fold out on a hinge. The system is designed to work in three modes: laptop mode (screen up, keyboard down, handle behind as a stand); book mode (screen on the front, keyboard on the back, comfortable indentation for holding it in the left hand. Pressing on the keyboard "accordian-stype" - as Negroponte puts it - allows for page scrolling); and game mode (screen in the front, keyboard in the back, held sideways, like an oversized PSP. Two trackballs, surrounded by four way buttons, on each side of the screen act as controls, and function keys on the back act as additional buttons.) The display, though, is harder. The first idea was a projector - a screen would be a white sheet of cardboard, and the image would be created by a small set of LEDs. It’s too fragile for use in the field. So Negroponte went back to looking at LCDs. Much of the power consumption of a LCD display comes from running color filters.
The cost structure: Negroponte became engaged in the idea of building a $100 laptop, which he says is not so difficult to do. 50-60% of your laptop cost is marketing, distribution and profit. The remainder - a quarter of the total price - is the cost of the display. The remaining quarter is processor, disk and everything else. How do you get those costs down as low as possible? The answer, beyond the display: don’t use a fat operating system. The processor speed is largely used by bloated operating systems. Five years ago, he says, his laptop ran faster and more reliably than it does today. Software developers are paid to create new features - if developers got paid to remove lines of code, we’d have a very different world. Read the note further about display choices and how to run the supply chain. Also visit Novatium site for its vision of reaching similar system to masses.
Category :Low Cost PC, Emerging Trends