A $100 (€76, £53) laptop computer for the developing world has been touted at the World Economic Forum in Davos by Nicholas Negroponte, founding chairman of MIT’s Media Lab.
The computer will have a 14-inch color screen and will run the Linux operating system. According to Red Herring magazine, Negroponte is looking for support from companies such as chip giant AMD, Google, Motorola, Samsung, and News Corporation.
The first units could be ready in about 18 months, Red Herring said.
The developing world is increasingly a target of technology companies – Microsoft has built a slimmed-down version of Windows XP for the Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Russian markets, as part of its Windows XP Starter Edition pilot programme. In part this reflects its desire to fight off Linux, which is becoming increasingly popular in these new markets.
Another source of PCs for the developing world is recycling. Every year in the UK 3 million PCs taken out of service, but many are still in good working order. In contrast most schoolchildren in the developing world graduate from high school not having seen a computer in the classroom, and there are a number of charities which take these PCs and reuse them in the developing world.
In related news, MIT has announced that Media Lab Europe, launched in 2000 by the Irish government and MIT will close on February 1 due to a shortfall in financing.