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One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

No Price Range Left Behind

From a post (here) at Engadget, comes a new twist in the unfolding saga of the affordable school computer. Last month, Intel announced their new Edu-Wise, a $400 little number destined for schools ... well ... someplace. The goal, according to Intel's Paul Otellini, is to put "real" computers in the hands of students.

The announcement came in Sao Paolo, Brazil, so it's possible that Otellini's plan is to target more industrialized markets rather than go head-to-head with Nicholas Negroponte's hand-cranked OLPC project in the poorest nations of the world.

Otellini's presentation was short on specs and long on potential, and it's worth noting that his announcement came at roughly the same time that Intel was unveiling a series of smaller tablet-esque ultra-mobile PCs (UMPC) that were expected to come in at around the $500 range. Since the hype has settled a bit, it's also worth noting that most UMPCs that have actually become real products instead of pre-production prototypes are falling in the $1,000 - $1,500 range. (Doesn't say much for Otellini's $400 target for the Edu-Wise, does it?)

Still, this is another player in the mix, along with OLPC and Chairman Gates's yet-to-be-implemented handheld phone-based concept for educational computing in the developing world. And as we all know, the more players there are, the better it is for the consumers in the end. This may not turn into a dogfight of competing standards, as there's a great deal of performance disparity between OLPC and Edu-Wise (for now). But props all around for a bunch of rich guys who are looking for ways to put some pc power in the hands of the world's students. With a range of models and price points from which to choose, it's all good, really.

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