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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Update: The $100 Laptop Gets Cranking!

Big news for John Negroponte and MIT, in re: their "$100" laptop. Today (1/26/2006), the hand-cranked technicolor wunderkind received backing from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative has so captivated their collective imagination that the UN has pledged to help Negroponte's MIT Media Lab reach their goal of one million laptops in the hands of children by the end of 2007.

Per official announcement, UNDP and OLPC will deliver "technology and resources to targeted schools in the least-developed countries." No word on criteria for such targeting, but one could assume that some degree of existing infrastructure is required to make the most of the thin client laptops. These are, after all, primarily designed as wireless terminals with relatively lean local processing and storage capabilities.

You'll recall (from an earlier post in this blog) that OLPC will seek government and NGO purchasers to underwrite laptops for children in developing countries. There's also talk about selling one or more versions of the wi-fi-enabled device in industrialized markets, ostensibly with a markup that will further offset the cost of units in the neediest regions.

Kemal Dervis, who is head of the UN Development Program, will sign a memo of understanding with Negroponte at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In short, UNDP will back MIT's OLPC at WEF. Just, you know, FYI.

There's an "official" story <here> (at the time of this post) on Yahoo! News.

Cool, huh?

How will it shake out? Comment this blog, and let's see where the conversation leads.
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