Friday, December 16, 2005

Who will make the 100 dollar laptops

Via SlashDot: PCWorld reports that "Taiwan's Quanta, the world's largest maker of notebook computers, will manufacture an ultra-low-cost laptop ..." Some excerpts:

Under terms of an agreement with One Laptop Per Child, Quanta will devote engineering resources to develop the $100 notebook design during the first half of the year, according to a statement issued by the group. At the same time, Quanta and the non-profit organization will explore the production of a commercial version of the laptop.


One Laptop Per Child said trials of the notebook are planned for China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand, with 1 million notebooks to be shipped to each of these countries. In addition, the group expects "an additional modest allocation" of the notebooks to be shipped to developers in other countries.

Read that second paragraph again. India does figure there! This is not a good thing at all.

About a week ago, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett belittled the low-cost laptop by terming it an "ineffectual gadget". This characterization has been strongly disputed by Ryan Paul at Ars Technica.

Barrett's gratuitous comment is silly. Moreover, he is not exactly an unbiased observer here, since the laptop is built with a processor from AMD, Intel's competitor.

I certainly hope this product succeeds commercially; it could have a transformational effect on the way children learn. After it proves its ability to win in a commercial environment, I hope some of them will reach students in India through private philanthropy. I just hope our government doesn't spend its money on bulk pre-orders.