A $100 People’s PC


Red Herring (the new one) reports that Nicholas Negroponte, author of Being Digital and the Wiesner Professor of Media Technology at MIT, has roped in Advanced Micro Devices, Google, Motorola, Samsung, and News Corp. to build a $100 PC which will have a 14-inch color screen, AMD chips, and will run Linux software and will be sold in emerging markets. An engineering prototype is nearly ready, with alpha units expected by year’s end and real production around 18 months from now, Negroponte told RH and they will be shipped directly to education ministries, with China first on the list and the minimum order will be a million units. I think this will be subsidized product, because even the back of the envelope calculations show that this cannot be built for $100. I still like the vision behind it. For nearly a year, I have been harping on this stuff.



More than economic feasibility, the issue is whether trying to replace textbooks with PC’s is practical in a country like India. The challenge is to get students into schools first and then getting textbooks in their hands. A computer in every hand is a long way off.

Lammert Bies

I am living partly in a Kazachstan, and because it borders to China many electronic devices are much cheaper than in the West. I am not talking about some percentage, but often a factor 3 or 4. So IMHO it should be possible to produce a PC in such countries for $100, provided the quantaties are high and the production is for the local market. Production for other countries will add high transportation and custom control costs.

FYI: Average wages for computer assemblers in Kazachstan are $60,= a month I bought a house two years ago there for $1000.

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