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$100 buys a lot of laptop

SJ Klein has brought by a working $100 laptop (for the One Laptop Per Child project). It is way cool. You want to pick it up and give it a hug. And the darn thing works.

The screen is pretty bright and very clear. It twists from the usual clamshell into a tablet configuration. The integrated camera works nicely. The chiclet keyboard is small for my fingers, but the whole device is only about 8″ square. It’s got PlayStation controls on either side of the screen. (EthanZ points out that when the antenna ears are up, it acts as a mesh node, using very little power. When the ears are down, it’s asleep.”

There are a zillion questions that have to be answered right for this project to work. The hardware has to be robust and/or easily repaired (although repairing it in remote locations would be a problem). The software has to hit every goal of commercial software and then some. And the whole project has to be fetching.

Fetching they have definitely achieved. And some very smart people are working on those other questions.

Meanwhile, I’m watching two smart adults fail to figure out how to open the case. SJ says it takes three year olds 30 seconds, but adults much longer. My guess ended up removing the battery. “This will be fixed by the next release,” says SJ, who meanwhile is happily making a video of us failing to crack the code.

(See Chris Blizzard’s blog for the continuing story.)

100 dollar laptop

100 dollar laptop

100 dollar laptop

100 dollar laptop
Pictures by J. Thanks!

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12 Responses to “$100 buys a lot of laptop”

  1. You know those things are cool enough and cheap enough and the community that will grow around them enticing enough that I’d happily pay $200 for one with the extra money going into the community.

  2. While they are neither $100 (more like $208 at least) or available for individual purchase (eBay please!), these little green laptops are my newest techno-lust.

    Best yet, Christopher Blizzard has video of it playing DOOM!


  3. David – your link to Christopher’s blog pulls up a splog site, alas. Christopher’s actual blog is at: (note that’s a leading zero, not an ‘o’).

  4. Thanks, Michael. I’ve fixed it.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Peterson’s assessment.Imagine going even further than that. Think of all the good that could be done if the powers that be in the philanthropic world would put their heads together to create a reliable organization in charge of turning donations into distributions of these little technological wonders where they are needed the most.If such charitable organization existed, I would gladly contribute to it on a regular basis…

  6. It’s okay, but get a Mac ;-)

    I know, you got one, just haven’t seen that on a reply here in a while :)

  7. Rod, Do you think that the philanthropic community could really afford to support OLPC? Do you know OLPC envisions a $150 Billion dollar start up cost and a $30 Billion dollar per year run rate?

    To give scale, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, America’s richest endowment, only has 31.9 Billion in total assets in 2006, including the first installment of Warren Buffet’s gift.

  8. It’s not supposed to be supported by philanthropic organizations. The real rollout is designed around governments paying.


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