$100 laptops

Laptops for only a hundred dollars — but they’re not for people here in the United States, they’re for children around the world. We’ve been hearing about Nicholas Negroponte’s vision of a laptop in the hands of every child around the world, and at last the prototype of the $100 laptop has been debuted:

A prototype of a cheap and robust laptop for pupils has been welcomed as an “expression of global solidarity” by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The green machine was showcased for the first time by MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte at the UN net summit in Tunis.

He plans to have millions of $100 machines in production within a year.

The laptops are powered with a wind-up crank, have very low power consumption and will let children interact with each other while learning.


“We really believe we can really make literally hundreds of millions of these machines around the world,” Professor Negroponte said, as costs continued to drop.

He added that it was critical that children actually owned, instead of loaned, the machines.


“Every single problem you can think of, poverty, peace, the environment, is solved with education or including education,” said Professor Negroponte. –BBC News

Brazil and Thailand are reportedly seriously interested already, as are a number of other less-industrialized countries. (But I gotta tell you, we could use those laptops right here in the United States; right here in New Bedford.) Negroponte’s original plans were to make the laptops only available to governments. The BBC reports he is now thinking about making them available on the commercial market. Which gives me an idea. Once production starts and costs fall, why not sell this exact same laptop to the general public here in the States at market rates, and then donate the extra profit generated to the effort to get these machines in the hands of kids everywhere? Heck, I’d buy one. I do love that green case.

P.S. For more on the UN Net Summit, check out the blog iWitness: Journalists Shaping the Information Society.