May 2008 Archives

Now that One Laptop Per Child has brought the 4P Computing vision into reality, and Asus proved its market with the Eee PC, expect to see an amazing plethora of form factors at this year's Computex that ascribe to the power, performance, price, and portability required by the developing world.

Mary Lou Jepsen with her XO laptop

But don't take my learned opinion on the matter, just listen to Mary Lou Jepsen, inventor of the XO laptop's dual mode screen:

So many new machines are coming out about the size of the XO laptop. I've heard that 50 distinct different laptop models will be introduced at Computex (in Taiwan) alone in early June. These machines use screens between 7-10″ diagonals - and have been slapped together rather quickly to capitalize on the momentum first created by One Laptop per Child.
Now she sees the new 4PC entrants being high on price, and they are. The cheapest 4PC laptops that I've seen are still around $450 for the base models. Yet, I must take exception to Jepsen's claim that $450 is double the XO price.

For any retail purchase, where pricing really matters, the XO is at least $300 on eBay and $400+ if purchased through the Give One Get One process. OLPC has set the price floor at $400, for better or worse. But I do have to agree with Mary Lou's overall vision. She and I can both celebrate this:
At the very least, we should have extremely low-power, sunlight readable, high resolution screens in these and other laptops. Pixel Qi is working towards this and we will announce some of our partners soon.
Thanks! It will not be a moment too soon for all of us interested in applicable technology for the developing world.

Mobile phones have established themselves as the communication and networking platform of choice for billions of the world's consumers, most of whom are at the base of the global economic pyramid. Worldwide, mobile phone subscribers outnumber Internet users almost 3 to 1, with much of that gap coming from skyrocketing mobile phone use in Africa, India and China.

Yet new mobile computing platforms, such as the XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child and the Asus Eee PC promise to radically change Internet access with breakthrough portability, performance, power and price. Does "4P Computing" pose a challenge to mobile phone dominance, or does each approach blend into the other?

David Lehr
David Lehr

Please join David Lehr and Wayan Vota in a lively discussion of how this technology dissemination is transforming economic development at the Base of the Pyramid. Active participation with your ideas, opinions, and predictions is strongly encouraged.

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