Here's an innovative idea: Build a laptop that costs less than $100 so more than 150 million children around the world can use computers to learn.
The sub-$100 laptops will be provided to more than 150 million children worldwide.
A prototype will debut in November at the United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, Tunisia. The first 5 million to 15 million laptops could be distributed by early 2007, with another 100 million to 150 million to be handed out a year later.
How can One Laptop Per Child produce such a cheap laptop? Half the cost of a commercial laptop is in sales, marketing, distribution, and profit, items that don't weigh down a laptop designed for a nonprofit program. And commercial laptops require operating systems that can handle byte-intensive applications. The first-generation machine likely will employ a dual-mode LCD display found in inexpensive DVD players but that also can be used in black and white, in bright sunlight, and at four times the normal resolution--all at a cost of less $30.
Despite the low cost, these machines will be robust. Negroponte envisions a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative sources of power--including manual wind-up. The laptops will be Wi-Fi- and cell-phone-enabled, and have at least four USB ports.