Wednesday, November 16, 2005

MIT $100 laptops....

MIT $100 laptop snubs Apple OS X

Posted by Stuart Miles

16 November 2005 - MIT Media Lab, the makers of the $100 laptop for the
developing world has turned down an offer from Apple to supply the Mac OS X
operating system because it isn’t an open source system.

According to the Wall Street Journal Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive,
offered to provide free copies of the company's operating system, OS X, for
the machine, according to Seymour Papert, a professor emeritus at MIT who is
one of the initiative's founders. "We declined because it's not open
source," says Dr. Papert, noting the designers want an operating system that
can be tinkered with.

MIT it seems is also talking Microsoft. Again according to the WSJ Mr.
Negroponte discussed the project last week with Microsoft Chairman Bill
Gates and Craig Mundie, chief technical officer of advanced strategies and
policy. "We're in serious discussions to determine what the appropriate type
of involvement is with us with their project," says Mr. Mundie.

The technical specifications of the $100 laptops, which are expected to be
ready for shipment by the end of 2006 or early 2007.

The model will include a hand crank that would allow users to wind-up power
when there's no electricity. They'd be foldable into more positions than
traditional notebook PCs, and carried like slim lunch boxes.

The machines will also have 500Mhz processor and 1Gb of onboard memory, and
be Wi-Fi compatible. More interestingly run the Linux operating system to
further cut down on cost.

One solution suggested could be the use of a dual-mode, flexible LCD display
being developed at MIT, which may allow for a 12-inch screen that costs only
$12 to build and mean for outdoor reading, the display would be able to
shift from full colour to glare-resistant black and white.

From: http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/news.php?newsId=1968

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Ok, so the headline reads 'MIT $100 laptop snubs Apple OS X', but there is
so much more to this article, and all related articles online than the Apple
snubbing.

I cannot wait to see the folding ability, and I think the wind-up power
ability is really great, especially considering these laptops are meant for
children in rural Africa, India, China, etc. and availability of electricity
is one of the key factors limiting computer use. Not entirely sure how
useful Wi-Fi is going to be, unless it is also coupled with 3G or similar
wireless internet connectivity. Again, we need to keep in mind that large
parts of rural Africa does not even have electricity, not to mention Wi-Fi
spots.
Connectivity is where the real challenge lies.

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