Intel’s Sour Grapes Over $100 Laptop

Nicholas Negroponte wants to get laptop computers to kids throughout the world who do not have computer access today. His means to do so is a $100 laptop which the MIT Media Lab has designed and which various manufacturers and other contributors have lined up to help shepard into existence.
But not everybody is happy about this. Take for example Intel: Wired News: Intel: Poor Want ‘Real’ Computers
The gist of Intel’s remarks is basically that a laptop with a megapixel screen, 500Mhz processor, wi-fi networking, and 1Gb of memory isn’t a “real” computer. After all, processors in desktops these days start around 2Ghz (4x), they run Windows rather than Linux, and they have hard drives. Best of all, about half of them have Intel Inside! (insert bing bing bing bum notes).
This is about the saddest form of sour grapes I’ve ever seen. Both Apple and Microsoft approached the group about running OS X or Windows rather than Linux because if this succeeds it will obviously be a big boon for Linux. In the course of just a few years, Linux’s share of the world OS market could increase dramatically and it could be second nail in the coffins of these two OS powerhouses (the first nail being the success that Linux has already had in the server environment). But Apple and Microsoft haven’t chosen to make disparaging comments about the project.
But Intel is feeling threatened because not only are their processors not in the laptops but also, their major competitor AMD has signed on as a whole hearted backer of the project and has dumped a couple of million dollars in as well: The $100 Laptop Moves Closer to Reality. Likewise Dell has chimed in with their negative comments, “It’s important that a computer prepare students for the applications they’ll be using after they get out of school.”
What computers are those going to be in developing countries like Thailand, Brazil, Sri Lanka, etc.? The latest Alienware PC, a high end Dell desktop, or what? Are the kids going to turn up their noses at a laptop because it won’t play Quake 3 or because the unit doesn’t include a hard drive to hold their MP3 collection?
In a word, this is malarky. Any box that meets these specs will be ten times what my Palm handheld is, and that is a useful device already. This will have a full sized screen and a real operating system that will handle browsing the web where one connection can be gotten and shared among many students. Editing a paper, sending an email, playing a game, or many other uses. With the USB connections built into the box you can hook it to external storage so the kids can save their work. This is a real computer and real people will be better off when it is available.

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