Friday, September 21, 2007

Is $100 PC a solution to world digital divide?

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed, at the World Economic Forum, by UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis and OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte, a founder and the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laptop per Child (OLPC) program.

OLPC will be implemented first in seven diverse and very large countries. The plan is to have the government buy the machines to be given cost-free to students. In the case of least developed countries (LDCs) and poor countries, the UNDP will work with OLPC and other UN agencies on the ground, to assist national governments to deploy the laptops to targeted public schools with a variety of internal and external funding sources.

UNDP's global network is present in 166 countries, and has extensive experience in using information and communication technology for sustainable development. It will work with local and international partners to design and develop programms to deliver OLPC technology and learning resources to schools in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).The $100 laptop is an inexpensive, robust computer, with open-source software, and very low power consumption. The laptop was designed to give children in developing countries access to knowledge and educational tools. A working prototype of the product was showcased at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in November 2005.

OLPC is anon-profit organization set up to oversee the project. Six companies – Google, AMD, Red Hat, News Corporation, Nortel, and Brightstar, provided $2 million each to fund OLPC and the initial laptop design.

Corporate interest in producing these computers has been high. After reviewing several bids, OLPC announced in December that Quanta Computers would manufacture the laptop.


Lakshminarayanan Subramanian said...

Currently OLPC has come out with a new initiative to sell 2 laptops for $399 in the developed world.

shirley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shirley said...

here's the latest review of the laptop from the nytimes:

the various network features built-in to the OS are pretty cool.

if it's not going to be a solution to a specific problem that already exists, if it ends up being as pervasive as intended, it may well equip a new generation with the tools to find solutions for their problems in the near future. or at the very least begin to expose more people to more possibilities.

then again, a single laptop in a non-networked town/village without access to needed health care and means of sustenance may not be terribly useful to its residents...

IvoBligh said...

From the article Shirley posted and elsewhere the scheme is give 1 and get 1. There is also a tax write-off incentive for low-income and possibly middle-income families. It's a smart idea and I wondered why this is not an option for low-income families in Developed worlds.