John Paul

The Latest on the $100 Laptop

OLPC UpdateSince it was announced in April of last year, MIT’s One Laptop per Child initiative has received a great deal of media attention, as well as some healthy skepticism. Questions were raised about the $100 laptop on NextBillion here and here. I hadn’t heard much recently about the project until last week when WorldChanging’s Ethan Zuckerman posted an excellent first-hand account of his use of the latest prototype.

In the newest iteration, the designers have got rid of the hand-crank, replaced the batteries, and have added a swivel hinge for the screen. Also added are WiFi antenna, which are designed to self-assemble meshes with other laptops. This mesh may also include a wireless base station that has a larger storage capacity and can connect the mesh to the Internet. This device compensates for the low storage capacity of the laptops by serving as a document server as well as a web caching server, and would be very useful in a classroom environment.

Although some questions remain unanswered, the improvements that have been made begin to address some of the initial concerns raised. Many other new details about the laptop are included in Ethan’s review, which you can read here.