How bulky is your Internet?

How bulky is your Internet?

Summary: Bill Gates wants to deliver the Net to the poor via cell phone. Nicholas Negroponte (he of the world of bits obliterating the world of atoms) wants to make the Net available to hundreds of millions of kids by laptop. What do you think would work?

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TOPICS: Laptops
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The New York Times reports that Bill Gates wants to deliver the Net to the poor via cell phone with a dongle that connects a TV/monitor and keyboard. Nicholas Negroponte (he of the world of bits obliterating the world of atoms) wants to make the Net available to hundreds of millions of kids by $100 laptop. A phone

Robert Scoble, admittedly a Microsoftie, says cell phone.

$100 LaptopTeleRead's David Rothman says laptop. 

I say: How about a cell phone running Linux or the Mac OS? I tend to think that in most of the world you'd want to have something you carried along—certainly for the poor, who live at risk of having their lives upended by economics or warfare, a cell phone makes a lot more sense.

What do you think would work? 

Topic: Laptops

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4 comments
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  • Far Fetched?

    Let's see now...
    Nokia 770 Tablet,
    PalmSource is going with an embedded Linux software stack and bought China MobileSoft, just to name a few off the top of my head.

    Microsoft, Symbian, WATCH OUT! ;)
    D T Schmitz
  • All my phone needs is a USB port and monitor connection...

    My cell phone already gets Internet access (if I pay for the service), and most cell phones now can too. All they need are two USB ports (keyboard, mouse) and a monitor output and it would do the job just fine. Alternatively, a little mini docking station. Not out of the question at all. I like this idea a lot more than having a laptop! Less things to carry, and cell phones are already making decent penetration into poor areas. The Economist did a good article about a year ago, showing that cell phones, dollar for dollar, improve the lives of those in poor areas more than any other technology. I say, let's bundle the two techs together. It's a lot easier and cheaper to have a cell phone be able to connect to a monitor/keyboard/mouse for under $100, than to try to make a laptop get under $100 (and still be usable).

    J.Ja
    Justin James
  • News scoop -- Bill Gates invents Web TV

    What a concept!
    critic-at-arms
  • Very admirable. Now get real!

    I wonder if Bill remembers what it's like to be poor, or if he has
    ever experienced it? We're talking about web for the poor, right?
    Who cares how bulky it is? Consider this, how bulky are your
    groceries? How bulky is your rent payment? I've been "poor"
    several times in my life, in fact, I'm still very close to it. In this
    scenario, I'd have to shell out almost $100 for a device, then
    more for a keyboard/monitor, possibly a cell phone monthly
    service fee, plus an ISP monthly fee, plus pay for updates and
    repairs. Now,... should I do all of this, possibly costing hundreds
    of dollars? Or should I buy food for my kids? Duh!
    If you want to get the nations poor on the web, you're going to
    have to solve their other problems first. What good is web TV
    when your electric power is being shut off?
    OK, I admit, it's a noble idea. But you'll have to come up with a
    better solution than "cheaper technology". What about better
    technology in "poor" schools, so the next generation may be
    able to break the bonds of poverty. What about "internet
    booths?" Kind of like the old phone booths, but with internet
    access?
    If you want to get the nation's poor on the web, you'll have to
    give it to them free. Otherwise, they'll squander the money on
    frivolent purchases, like food and heat.

    "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see."
    nich_z