Anyone who has the basic understanding of the level of IT penetration in developing nations and the reasons for those poor figures can give plenty of reasons for their introduction.
From the $ 100 laptop FAQ Page:
Why not a desktop computer, oreven bettera recycled desktop machine?
Desktops are cheaper, but mobility is important, especially with regard to taking the computer home at night. Kids in the developing world need the newest technology, especially really rugged hardware and innovative software. Recent work with schools in Maine has shown the huge value of using a laptop across all of ones studies, as well as for play. Bringing the laptop home engages the family. In one Cambodian village where we have been working, there is no electricity, thus the laptop is, among other things, the brightest light source in the home.
The brightest light source. You heard that Mr.Barrett?
——–warning: There may be a teeny bit of politics in this blog about economic development—–
Compare and contrast. I can’t vouch for a laptop I haven’t seen yet, but I am willing to bet Prabath has a clue:
Tell you what – when these machines are available I will buy one and Nidahas can choose where to distribute it in Sri Lanka. That’s a pledge for 2006. Moving beyond aid and towards economic development.
Oh darn I can’t: apparently only large scale educational projects will be able to buy and distribute these laptops. Come on MIT there must be another way to aggregate orders so you have enough money for a production run. You’re MIT- you’re the smartest people in the world. Ask George Soros or something. What about joining Unitus and working out a microloan program?
When I was in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago my friend Rana asked me to take photographs of his family and send them to him when I got home. He couldn’t afford a camera. Rana drives a van owned by someone else for a living. Would Intel have him rent a PC, as well, because of the upfront costs involved?
We’re talking about fundamentals of access. My son is nine weeks old today. If I lived in a “third world country” I would certainly hope he gets the computer he deserves in future. That would be the one we could get our hands on.
The majority of British computer programmers cut their teeth on a sub $200 machine, the ZX-81, and that was more than 20 years ago. Many of these people are now senior software engineers in Silcon Valley.
Compare with Murugan Pal, who “never saw a computer til I was 21“
We all spent over $1000 for a computer throughout most of the 80s and 90s. Intel did well out it, as did Microsoft and a host of others. But just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t mean that’s the way it always will be. We’re talking about lowering the barriers to entry.
The final irony – Andy Grove has been known to argue that the US faces economic meltdown because of a lack of people with suitable engineering qualifications.