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Innovation

Intel getting some flak for criticizing $100 laptop

When Intel CEO Craig Barrett remarked, "People with a $100 notebook computer will get the computer they deserve,” in regards to MIT's ambitious project currently underway, some didn't take it lightly. RedMonk analyst James Governor points to and supports the opposite viewpoint from blogger, Nidahas: Anyone who has the basic understanding of the level of IT penetration in developing nations and the reasons for those poor figures can give plenty of reasons for their introduction.
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Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor on

When Intel CEO Craig Barrett remarked, "People with a $100 notebook computer will get the computer they deserve,” in regards to MIT's ambitious project currently underway, some didn't take it lightly. RedMonk analyst James Governor points to and supports the opposite viewpoint from blogger, Nidahas:

Anyone who has the basic understanding of the level of IT penetration in developing nations and the reasons for those poor figures can give plenty of reasons for their introduction.

From the $ 100 laptop FAQ Page:

Why not a desktop computer, or—even better—a recycled desktop machine? Desktops are cheaper, but mobility is important, especially with regard to taking the computer home at night. Kids in the developing world need the newest technology, especially really rugged hardware and innovative software. Recent work with schools in Maine has shown the huge value of using a laptop across all of one’s studies, as well as for play. Bringing the laptop home engages the family. In one Cambodian village where we have been working, there is no electricity, thus the laptop is, among other things, the brightest light source in the home.

The brightest light source. You heard that Mr.Barrett?

Governor shows how lowering the barriers to entry levels the playing field:

The majority of British computer programmers cut their teeth on a sub $200 machine, the ZX-81, and that was more than 20 years ago. Many of these people are now senior software engineenrs in Silcon Valley.

Getting back to Intel, Craig Barrett argues that a computer's features are more important than its price. Would foresasking some of them to achieve the lowest cost possible translate to critical mass adoption in developing markets...even at the expense of some utility? Will kids in India and China like the laptop's color, design, and unique feature set that in some ways makes it more advanced than my aging $2,500 PowerBook?  That remains to be seen.

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