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Re: $100 laptop

  • Subject: Re: $100 laptop
  • From: The Ghost In The Machine <ewill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2005 18:00:07 GMT
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: EarthLink Inc. -- http://www.EarthLink.net
  • References: <doehdb$rm7$1@s0b1a68.ssa.gov> <tqidndfKOo6-UTfeRVn-pg@speakeasy.net> <doejho$22r$2@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk>
  • User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)
  • Xref: news.mcc.ac.uk comp.os.linux.advocacy:1064805
In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Roy Schestowitz
on Thu, 22 Dec 2005 16:16:49 +0000
> __/ [John Bailo] on Thursday 22 December 2005 15:54 \__
>> Christina wrote:
>>> http://laptop.media.mit.edu/
>> The old Microsoft motto used to be "a PC in every home running Windows
>> software" ( circa 1988 when I worked there ).
>> They've had more than 25 years to accomplish that mission.
>> They failed.
>> Next!
> Read this...
> http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/7859
> Chris DiBona of Google on Ballmer's vision of the $100 computer.
> Roy

Hm.  I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, except
that somebody doesn't have a clue.  :-)  I'll admit I
don't know how much an XP Crippleware Edition license
costs, though, but with sub-$100 hardware the OS cost
becomes a significant fraction of the initial expense.
(The article suggests that a standard XP license is $99
retail.  The ultracheap machine may very well have to be
manufactured for free!)

And how real a barrier is $100 anyway?  It's not like
India throws dollars around; they use rupees.  China has
its yuan, Korea its won.  Various African countries have
their currencies, although I suspect many do in fact use
US dollars; Zimbabwe in particular seems to be having
problems with inflation, which makes their currency,
the Zimbabwean dollar, a little weird.

There's also the question of a desktop.  It's hard to put
something *on* a desk when there *is* no desk -- therefore,
a sub-$100 laptop would probably be a better fit.  Everyone
has a lap, last I looked...

Assuming such is even possible.  A scan for "ultra-cheap laptop"
picked up a UK site, which suggests a £1,299.00 HP Pavilion.
Foul ball (or bad bowling?) on that pitch; it translates to
US$2258.53 on this side of the pond.



At that, it was better than Gateway and Evesham Voyager in comparing
prices; Gateway pulled up various things ("Gateway to the world"
and wireless routers), and Voyager pulled up a 7 night stay at
the Sheraton.

ObDuh:   Duh.

The good news:


stipulates a Simputer which has 32MB flash, 32MB RAM,
built-in (and presumably wireless) modem, smartcard
interface, and a 240x320 touchscreen.  Its suggested price
is under $200 -- so it's getting there.  (The form factor
is a bit larger than a Palm handheld, and it has a good
battery life of about 6-8 hours on three AAAs.  It probably
could use more resolution -- but then *anything* could
use more resolution.)

Of course it's not running Windows.  Ballmer may have some
work cut out for him going forward.

A picture of the unit is at


or at


Not great for data entry, admittedly, but might be good for
such things as inventory verification and quick notes --
assuming it's cheaper than those multibutton affairs I
occasonally see at our grocery stores here in the US.

Since this is circa 2002 it's far from clear how well this
effort is doing, though PicoPeta is selling its Amida unit,
and Encore is selling its unit; both are apparently based
on the Simputer concept.

(official launch date 2004-03-26)
(no date given but presumably it's available)

Now...is there a business case for replacing the OS with either
WinCE or WinXP Wireless Simputer Edition?  :-)  Somehow, I for
one doubt it...at least in India, anyway.

#191, ewill3@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
It's still legal to go .sigless.

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