January 2008

Bytes for All…

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One laptop per child: a relook into Negroponte's vision
When Nicholas Negroponte, a tech guru at the celebrated Media Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, launched the initiative in 2005, the vision was grandiose. Indeed, Mr Negroponte's vision was brilliant. He planned to blanket the developing world with tens of millions of $100 laptops for kids. The low cost would come from a tripartite 'perfect storm'. First, economies of scale: sales would be directly to governments, who could only buy quantities above 1m. Second, the machines would bypass Intel's processors and Microsoft's software in favour of open-source stuff. Third, commodity parts would keep the price low.

A few trials in places like Haiti and Rwanda, together with orders from Peru and Uruguay collectively fell far short of even 1m machines. A clever holiday promotion in North America that offered two laptops

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