Good enough computing

The Economist has an article on Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 computer for the poor. The machines’ specs are not bad at all.
I often teach the Dell case in my technology and strategy classes. One of the questions I ask students is “what could kill Dell” – and one of the answers might be that people start thinking computers are good enough, thus demanding fewer updates and less (mas) customization. To a certain extent we are already seeing that – when a student asks me nowadays what computer to buy, I will answer that, for study purposes, any laptop will do. I especially liked the mesh network piece – imagine what this will do for spreading news and learning.
But the OLPC technology can literally change how we think about computing, yet again. The price point is just ridiculous – at $100, I would like to sprinkle a few of these around the house, as email stations, library catalogue, inventory keepers, shopping list creators and TV program selector. With information stored centrally on a server and mesh networking to connect, information – one’s own or someone elses – could be literally at our fingertips.
Not to mention that you could stop worrying about losing the laptop when travelling – at that price, you could take one on trips and lose it (or give it away to someone needy) when no longer needed.

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