Gates disses $100 laptop (again)

Speaking at Government Leaders forum, Gates chides, "Get a decent computer."

laptop-front.jpgGates once again let known his feelings of disdain for the $100 laptop, Nicholas Negroponte's proposed appropriate technology for the developing world. Gates dismissed the proposed machine's lack of hard disk, tiny screen and hand crank power supply.

"If you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user, geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you're not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type," Gates said.

Gates questioned the choice to skip the hard disk, saying that hardware is a small part of the cost. Network connectivity is more expensive, he said.

Negroponte has set up an organization, One Laptop Per Child, to focus on the project. The website describes the machine as:

The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, with a dual-mode display—both a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3× the resolution. The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports. The laptops will have wireless broadband that, among other things, allows them to work as a mesh network; each laptop will be able to talk to its nearest neighbors, creating an ad hoc, local area network. The laptops will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data.

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