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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Nicholas Negroponte And 100$ PC Initiative

( Via Om Malik) Nicholas Negroponte, author of Being Digital and the Wiesner Professor of Media Technology at MIT, says he has obtained promises of support from a number of major companies, including Advanced Micro Devices, Google, Motorola, Samsung, and News Corp. The low-cost computer will have a 14-inch color screen, AMD chips, and will run Linux software.AMD is separately working on a cheap desktop computer for emerging markets. It will be sold to governments for wide distribution.An engineering prototype is nearly ready, with alpha units expected by year’s end and real production around 18 months from now, he said. The portable PCs will be shipped directly to education ministries, with China first on the list. Only orders of 1 million or more units will be accepted.Mr. Negroponte’s idea is to develop educational software and have the portable personal computer replace textbooks in schools.Major companies from Hewlett-Packard to Microsoft to Dupont, facing saturated markets in the richest industrial countries, have shown an interest in developing less expensive products to sell in low-income countries in south Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

My Take:Throw in some communication capabilities and some more open source desktop tools to run on top of Linux - this would serve multiple objectives - reaching to new set of masses, having a larger pool of computer literates and ofcourse sowing seeds for deploying alternates to monopolies in desktop segments to provide true options to end consumers. With saturated markets in the west and the potentially mindboggling latent demand in emerging markets, and in the context of mobile reaching almost 25% of world's population - the personal computer's reach and penetration need to be enhanced quite significantly and initiatives like this would go a long way. In anycase servicing the the bottom of the pyramid is the way to go - Courtesy C.K.Prahalad - even in seemingly different high tech industry

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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