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A closeup of the marvelous mini-computer, that's the size of a USB stick -- and almost as cheap as one.  (Source: p Raspberry Pi Foundation)

With a mouse, keyboard, and monitor/HDMI-compatible TV, a child is set to play on the device.  (Source: p Raspberry Pi Foundation)
Forget OLPC, just give kids one of these things

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project was an ambitious and forward-looking plan.  Unfortunately for all its ambition, it might have been a bit poorly executed.  The initial target cost of $100 ballooned to $188 per laptop.

However, a software great in Britain has devised [video] what could be the salvation of OLPC and similar future programs -- a fully functional computer that's as small as a USB stick and costs only $25 USD (£15) to make.

The tiny computer -- dubbed "Raspberry Pi" -- looks somewhat like a standard USB memory stick, as a USB 2.0 connector juts out of it.  But on the side it packs a SD/MMC/SDIO card reader to provide Flash storage (of course buying said storage might bump the price $10-$20).  And on the side opposite to the USB port an HDMI connector sits, capable of piping out 1080p video to a monitor/TV.

The little board has smartphone-esque hardware, with a 700MHz ARM11 processor and 128 MB of SDRAM packed in.  Specifics on the processor, including the manufacturer were not yet revealed.  The GPU also was not revealed, but it is said to be capable of handling OpenGL ES 2.0 (hence the 1080p output).

Mice/keyboards can be plugged in via the USB slot.  The computer runs a version of popular open-source Linux distribution Ubuntu 9 and comes with a variety of open source software tools (Iceweasel, KOffice, Python).

An expansion port allows for additional hardware models.  For example, a 12 MP camera module was shown off.

A full spec sheet and overview is available here.

The inventor David Braben is the founder of development studio Frontier Developments and co-developer of the game Elite.  His game studio has offered such hot-selling titles as the Rollercoaster Tycoon series, ThrillvilleLost Winds, and most recently Kinectimals.

Lately Mr. Braben has been driven to try to inspire the next generation to success in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).  He is looking to deploy the mini-computer as a device packed with courses for children that teach them about the basics of computer hardware and programming software.

He has launched a UK registered charity dubbed the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

He states that children will be able to "use [the device] as a computer to learn program, to be able to run Twitter, Facebook, whatever.  But also to be able to understand the whole process of programming.  A lot of things have been obfuscated these days in the sense that you can't get at them.  There's so much between you and doing something interesting or creative that it gets in the way.  And hopefully this device will be one of the pieces that helps change that."

The Raspberry Pi foundation plans to distribute the tiny PC to children in the UK, as well as third world children, though no solid release date has been announced yet.

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These initiatives are silly
By tayb on 5/6/2011 10:17:32 AM , Rating: 3
One laptop per child? How about one glass of clean water per child? One meal per day per child? With so many children across the world suffering from a lack of food or clean water the notion that every kid needs or deserves a laptop is absurd. I'm sure there were good intentions behind this kind of junk but if I had to pick a charity to donate all of my money to OLPC and similar groups would be just above "tear up all money and put down disposal."

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Hulk on 5/6/2011 10:26:32 AM , Rating: 5
I think it's great that people have different ideas about how to make the world a better place. I for one am not going to tear him down for following his dream, and a noble dream at that.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Solandri on 5/7/2011 12:55:44 AM , Rating: 5
The problem with the food, water, and medicine approach to "helping" people in developing nations is that long-term it ends up hurting them. Almost all of the world's population growth is in developing nations. There's something about industrializing and modernizing which makes people want to have fewer kids.

If you give people in developing nations food and clean water without changing anything else, all that'll happen is their population increases even more due to a lowered mortality rate. So all you accomplish is increasing the number of people who need food, water, and medicine here and now. And by increasing their population you've made it that much harder to modernize their country in the future.

What you want to do instead is to start off by helping them modernize their country. This means education and engineering expertise, and economic loans to help them start their own businesses. Once you've done this, they will build their own infrastructure, grow their own food, build their own water purification systems, and construct their own hospitals. Things like OLPC attempt to address the education and engineering expertise part of the problem. They give these people access to educational and reference materials they otherwise wouldn't have (textbooks are bulky and heavy and a pain to ship).

And as for the power to run these things, the OLPC could be powered with a hand crank. The specs on this USB stick PC the guy gave on his site are that it'll draw between 50-700 mW (the high end being a future version with a 3D graphics chipset). That's next to nothing. An average person can generate about 100-200 W on an exercise bike. Hook one up to a generator and battery and pedal for 10 minutes and you have enough power to run one of these for 24-48 hours continuously @ 700 mW. 2-4 weeks @ 50 mW.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By hiscross on 5/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: These initiatives are silly
By invidious on 5/9/2011 12:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
Educating people to make responsible family choices is not the same as population control.

Capitalism is not going to help them when this is a global economy and outside forces come into to exploit them. If it was an isolated society things would work themselves out in the long term. But its not, and if left alone the poverty is more likely to get worse and spread rather than go away.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By mofo3k on 5/6/2011 10:26:53 AM , Rating: 4
It's the old "teach a man to fish..." theory. As their computer literacy increases, so does their marketability to potential employers. If they have jobs, they can afford to feed themselves. Unfortunately the potential jobs will likely be taken from the US or India but that's the "Free Market" for ya.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By FITCamaro on 5/6/2011 11:26:46 AM , Rating: 5
It's the old "a computer doesn't do anything without power, a display, access to data, and input devices" theory.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/6/2011 11:50:49 AM , Rating: 5
* power supply, cables, keyboard, mouse, monitor, memory sold separately.

Lessee, that is gonna be less than... oh, US$500, so there you go, it beat the OLPC cost of US$188 by um... carry the one... wait a minute, what?

RE: These initiatives are silly
By jr9k on 5/6/2011 4:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, don't forget a couple of monster cables and extended warranty.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By headbox on 5/6/2011 4:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
make sure it has HDMI, or the adapater will cost more too

RE: These initiatives are silly
By cfaalm on 5/12/2011 7:17:24 AM , Rating: 2
What? No Thunderbolt?

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Lerianis on 5/6/11, Rating: -1
RE: These initiatives are silly
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/9/2011 7:09:37 AM , Rating: 3
Uh, see the first photo? That piece of circuit board is what costs $25, not all the items pictured in the second photo. Also, read the article.

By Rugglebum666 on 5/13/2011 12:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
Very true.

By icanhascpu on 5/9/2011 10:09:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, if youre looking on Newegg for the monitor. /rollseyes.

You look for screen sizes that already have fabs in place to mass-produce screens. You slap a shock-resistant mass produced plastic around that. Tens of dollars for a small cheaply made LCD screen. Keyboard/mouse? Yes, tard, lets buy them a MX518 mouse and wireless keyboard so we can fit with your moronic point. No. This stuff, even on newegg for goodness sake can be had for <15$. If its going directly from fab to system on a mass produced scale those two items would cost a fraction of that. A sub 60-80$ laptop is not difficult to comprehend.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By mindless1 on 5/6/2011 7:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
Think about what will happen. You give these children computer skills so they are employable in other areas of the world so the brightest children leave, instead of staying in the region they were born in to help effect change where it is needed most.

I'm not suggesting they shouldn't leave, only that the effect could be a negative one on such regions' peoples.

It would seem better that they gain skills applicable to the problems in their area, create businesses whose products or services are in need there and let's face it, nobody "really" needs computers unless the society/job demands their use.

By Skywalker123 on 5/9/2011 7:43:59 AM , Rating: 1
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, Teach a man to steal fish and you feed him for the rest of his life."

RE: These initiatives are silly
By rdhood on 5/6/2011 10:29:10 AM , Rating: 3
I tend to agree. You are going to hook a 1080p output to what?

I've been thinking a lot, and agree with tayb... we ought to be looking at "1 lifetime ceramic water filter per child"

One good ceramic water filter that costs between $50 and $100 will filter enough water to provide clean drinking water for one person for that person's life.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By MrBlastman on 5/6/2011 10:52:58 AM , Rating: 1
You can give them water, but then they still need food. All you're essentially doing is shifting the efforts to keep them on welfare.

Give them a computer though that teaches them how to program and modify hardware--then you've taught them something marketable that will allow them to get a job--and feed them perpetually. The best part is, they get fed without it costing you money for the rest of their life.

I like the idea. Now... if only David would get back to making us another Elite game. We've waited a long time--it's time! (though, I must admit, Evochron is a pretty neat series).

RE: These initiatives are silly
By snakeInTheGrass on 5/6/2011 11:00:48 AM , Rating: 5
Or give them a laptop and they can starve before finding a good IT job. How about give them some engineering books so they can improve their own environments?

By VitalyTheUnknown on 5/6/2011 11:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
"How about give them some engineering books so they can improve their own environments?"

How about give them access to whatever book they want.,9171,1...

RE: These initiatives are silly
By BadAcid on 5/6/2011 11:44:16 AM , Rating: 5
How about sending them condoms and sex ed so they curb the production of new starving children?

RE: These initiatives are silly
By FITCamaro on 5/6/11, Rating: 0
RE: These initiatives are silly
By AssBall on 5/6/2011 3:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
They are breeding faster than aids can kill them.

14 year olds born with aids having babies... woot.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By lagomorpha on 5/6/2011 2:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
For some reason no one wanted to donate to my "one vasectomy per child" initiative.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Azethoth on 5/6/2011 3:59:20 PM , Rating: 3
I am guessing they did not want to pay for girls getting vasectomies.

By lagomorpha on 5/6/2011 8:30:00 PM , Rating: 4
The boys each get two vasectomies so it only averages out to one per child.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By BZDTemp on 5/6/2011 11:48:19 AM , Rating: 5
How about reading the article!

This little tiny PC is not for developing nations but for kids in our part of the world. The idea is to give a platform to thinker with and their own personal computer (something kids in poor homes are not likely to have).

As for the OLP project the idea is of course to help the kids that are not dying from starvation but those in places that have moved a step or two beyond that. The computer is so they learn to use IT but it's also about cheap access to learning material - those engineering books you talk about are to be on the computers.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By dananski on 5/7/2011 9:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
Quite right. Here in the UK where it was made, there are plenty of disadvantaged children who could benefit from learning programming on it in schools and it won't be long before every home here has a TV with HDMI so they don't need to worry about a monitor to use one at home either. As peripherals become cheaper, spread it out to less economically developed countries.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Stuka on 5/6/2011 12:45:41 PM , Rating: 2
I could be wrong, but I think you can learn about engineering through a computer, somehow. It's one of those secrets that no one knows about.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By DanNeely on 5/6/2011 11:42:08 AM , Rating: 2
It's not just a question of what you hook it up to. Even if the chip is capable of decoding 1080p video, an ARM11 core isn't fast enough to render modern web pages at an acceptable rate.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By JediJeb on 5/6/2011 6:28:05 PM , Rating: 3
Depends on what you call an acceptable rate. For someone without a PC just about any rate would be acceptable. I just got DSL last year, and before that acceptable for me was a page on DT loading in under a minute to minute and a half.

It is like telling someone who normally has to walk 10 miles through the outback to the nearest grocery store that unless a car offered to them goes 0-60 in 6 seconds it is just unacceptable and they should turn it down.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Suntan on 5/6/2011 12:31:16 PM , Rating: 3
we ought to be looking at "1 lifetime ceramic water filter per child".

And by "we" he actually meant, "Someone, or maybe some group of people I suppose. But not me personally."


RE: These initiatives are silly
By ekv on 5/6/2011 1:55:19 PM , Rating: 4
If you don't mind too much, a shameless plug ...

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Solandri on 5/7/2011 11:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
And while such efforts are admirable and well-intentioned, they aren't without their downsides too:

RE: These initiatives are silly
By ekv on 5/7/2011 10:01:36 PM , Rating: 1
Hey, thanks. I hadn't seen these. I have two bud's that do this kind of work. One is a geologist that does the actual drilling (and follow up -- some wells silt up, or get contaminated). The other teaches the villagers about hygiene and sanitation (for about a week or two after the well is established).

Drilling the well is the cheap part. The education and so forth is the expensive part. [They aren't as efficient as, say, the Salvation Army (at a mere 10% overhead), but when I harp at 'em they're listening]

I'll pass the links along. I'm pretty sure they aren't irresponsible, but maybe they haven't seen this kind of thing. You never know.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Calin on 5/9/2011 3:28:29 AM , Rating: 2
Not if the ceramic filter must filter murky water.

By Dr of crap on 5/6/2011 10:30:58 AM , Rating: 1
It's a good idea for the poorer ones in the developed countries to be given this PC, but I agree that feeding the kids a good meal a day and water is a better plan.

Hell, I can see more uses for a PC as cheap as this, than to just keep it geared for kids. Throw a few more dollars at it, beef it up a little, make it under $100, and you'd sell more than you could keep on the shelves!

RE: These initiatives are silly
By priusone on 5/6/2011 10:32:03 AM , Rating: 2
Growing up with absent parents, I relied on pc component hand outs in order to build an 8086. I loved programming, but sadly, something happened to the system and I wasn't able to get it back up and running.

Sure, food and water for everyone would be an awesome goal, but why not tackle a smaller goal of getting cheap computers into the hands of kids who can learn using them?

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Dr of crap on 5/6/2011 10:33:36 AM , Rating: 2
It's a good idea for the poorer ones in the developed countries to be given this PC, but I agree that feeding the kids a good meal a day and water is a better plan.

Hell, I can see more uses for a PC as cheap as this, than to just keep it geared for kids. Throw a few more dollars at it, beef it up a little, make it under $100, and you'd sell more than you could keep on the shelves!

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Flunk on 5/6/2011 11:41:09 AM , Rating: 2
or how about they sell it for $50 as is and use half the fund giving another away.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By aegisofrime on 5/6/2011 10:39:02 AM , Rating: 2
I say both. Give the kids the food and water, but also give them the knowledge to be able to secure these for themselves and others. I personally believe that ignorance is the worst enemy of mankind, let the light of education and knowledge banish ignorance forever.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By mindless1 on 5/6/2011 7:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
That's a lovely sentiment but there isn't enough to go around. Personally I'd rather be ignorant and have enough to eat than be half educated and half starving to death.

However, it isn't necessarily about ignorance. Let's assume most know that having sex without protection of some sort results in pregnancy. They know there isn't enough food or clean water for those present, let alone more children.

By Shadowmaster625 on 5/6/2011 3:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
You cant give anything to children of 3rd world countries. Their parents will just have more children. What they need is jobs. To let them help their own children. Not to mention keep them too busy to have (as many) children.

By FaceMaster on 5/6/2011 4:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine people coming into your house and taking your computing equipment, because 'there are less fortunate people elsewhere in the world'. Utterly ridiculous logic.

I see no reason for us to have to drag ourselves down all the time. Sure, we can help those less fortunate than ourselves in other countries, but we mustn't neglect our own country. I'm all for this scheme.

RE: These initiatives are silly
By Targon on 5/9/2011 5:58:04 AM , Rating: 2
You clearly are missing a big piece of the puzzle in improving conditions around the world. Yes, having access to clean water and food is critical for survival, but once those things have been taken care of, what then? What about giving children the knowledge and experience they need to actually earn an HONEST living in the real world without resorting to working for scammers and criminals?

This is what things like one laptop per child is all about. In the USA, there are some who do not have their own computer, so learning how to use a computer is more difficult and limited to what a school can offer(which isn't much in some areas).

The idea that those in third world countries never really get out of poverty because most of the effort is on the basics of survival is a part of the problem. If you don't stop at feeding the poor, and instead also look to getting the poor to actually get jobs and be self sufficient, these third world countries might be in better shape.

Basically, what has been lacking is a focus on getting poor AREAS to the point where they will not need help FOREVER. How long has the effort to "feed the starving people of Ethiopia" been going on? Since the 1960s if not earlier, and yet, after all these decades of getting help and feeding the children there, is there any real improvement where the world doesn't have to keep helping the people there feed themselves?

By icanhascpu on 5/9/2011 10:03:23 AM , Rating: 2
Give a child a bottle of water and they drink for a day, teach a child the workings of water filtration, conservation, gathering, efficient water distribution and methods of going about all of the above, and they drink for a lifetime.

What is absurd is you thinking we arnt already trying to give them water and food. What we need to do ontop of that is give them knowledge, and things like the above are attempting to produce low cost hardware that can achieve this. No idea why your comment got a 5 aside from the bleeding hearts that disregard logic and what is actually going on.

By supermitsuba on 5/6/2011 10:04:58 AM , Rating: 3
I'd like to use one of these as an HTPC, if it's capable of 1080p. all my computer connected to my TV does is stream everything anyway. Neat stuff.

RE: Heck..
By robinthakur on 5/6/2011 10:08:23 AM , Rating: 3
But can it run Crysis?

RE: Heck..
By JasonMick on 5/6/2011 10:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
But can it run Crysis?

No. It can run Angry Birds, though, if you install Android OS! :)

RE: Heck..
By Flunk on 5/6/2011 11:42:39 AM , Rating: 2
True enough, and it's sold 20x as many copies as Crysis.

RE: Heck..
By JediJeb on 5/6/2011 6:31:17 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if an Android app could be made to run on Unbuntu?

RE: Heck..
By mindless1 on 5/6/2011 7:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
So everything this HTPC will play would be 1080p H.264? We don't even know what FPS it can manage - might be lower than 24FPS or 30FPS, though I concede it would make a lot more sense for it to be able to do 30FPS.

Seems unlikely to be good for a HTPC, having a H.264 decoder doesn't magically make it capable of anything else.

Might I suggest wireless HDMI from another computer instead?

By Pjotr on 5/6/11, Rating: 0
RE: Specs!?
By VitalyTheUnknown on 5/6/2011 12:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
Actually ZTE Blade is 229€ unsubsidized (with 23% VAT included).

RE: Specs!?
By drycrust3 on 5/6/2011 3:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
This thing has worse specs than your average Android phone.

Ah ha! You've made the first BIG mistake of technology: You thought about this in terms of EXISTING technology. The Golden Rule of technology is that the biggest value to you of that new technology is something you haven't thought of. This could be the biggest thing in computing since the invention of the CPU.
Look at what this does offer: computing power at low cost that with low weight and occupies a small space.
For example, instead of just having one CPU and one GPU in a computer, you might buy a computer with 5 of them, but with the capability to add lots more. Find your computer struggles a bit when photoshopping a picture or playing the latest video game? A trip to your local computing store, buy some more computing power, plug them in, problem solved.
Or say you attach a GPS unit and a cellphone. Now you have a device that you can program up for things like couriering valuables so if your package is tampered with, treated roughly, or if it remains stationary for more than an hour it will tell you. Or say you have livestock like sheep that get attacked or rustled from time to time? Put some of these on the stock so if they all move more than a predetermined amount in a short space of time or outside the paddock they are in you are alerted.

RE: Specs!?
By Azethoth on 5/6/2011 3:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
No, you are missing his point. Smartphones will be the defacto computing platform for the unwashed masses as soon as costs drop low enough.

You can run a phone off a hand-crank or solar array.

You can not run thingy + tv + whatever with the same ease. Right now in Africa cell phones are already how people do banking and all kinds of things.

Also, sheep do not need cell phones with gps. They are exceedingly stupid animals fit only for delicious bbq and making wool.

RE: Specs!?
By JediJeb on 5/6/2011 6:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
No, you are missing his point. Smartphones will be the defacto computing platform for the unwashed masses as soon as costs drop low enough.

Sorry not for me. I want as big of a monitor I can if I am going to be doing work on a computer. Squinting at a tiny smartphone screen and having to type with one finger is not my idea of using a computer.

RE: Specs!?
By OneArmedScissorB on 5/6/2011 6:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
Phone > video output > TV

Phone > dock > keyboard/screen/battery

Phone > wifi > anything

RE: Specs!?
By mindless1 on 5/6/2011 7:51:16 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh, no, no they won't. A phone plan is not something these people would be able to afford, it would make no sense to put capabilities into the computing device which raise cost but are never used.

Where are they going to get these hand cranks and solar arrays if they are too poor to have even the more basic things a modern society does? $100 is $100 more than most of the "unwashed masses" has. Impoverished people DO NOT NEED CELLPHONES. That someone in Africa has one is not relevant, if they can afford a cell phone plan and service is available, nobody is stopping them from buying themselves cell phones. This project on the other hand, addresses people who need something low cost above phone functionality.

Must... suppress... nerdy... urges
By deathwombat on 5/6/2011 4:28:39 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know why, but I feel an overwhelming urge to get one of these things and fill up an SD card with DOS games and a copy of DOSBox. Yes, I could do that with any USB stick, but there's something cool about the idea of the thumb drive actually being a computer (minus the screen and keyboard). $25 retro gaming computer in my pocket FTW!

By MindParadox on 5/6/2011 6:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
oh god im totally with you on that :)
of course, for me, id also add an atari 2600 emulator, as well as a sega genesis emulator :)

RE: Must... suppress... nerdy... urges
By mindless1 on 5/6/2011 7:57:35 PM , Rating: 2
because it has an x86 processor to run them, right?

RE: Must... suppress... nerdy... urges
By deathwombat on 5/6/2011 9:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
Who needs an x86 processor? DOSBox has been ported to a lot of different platforms. There's even a Java port called jDosbox. It can even be embedded in a webpage as an applet so that you can play DOS games in your browser ( I don't know if there's an ARM port of DOSBox, but if there's a Java Virtual Machine for ARM, you can play DOS games on this thing.

RE: Must... suppress... nerdy... urges
By mindless1 on 5/9/2011 1:55:08 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know if there's an ARM port of DOSBox, but if there's a Java Virtual Machine

Exactly. Unknown /uncertainty. If everything aligns towards making it happen it can - which is the same we could say about anything in the world which doesn't happen.

Also, the overhead of ports/Java could be too much for the processor, gaming tends to need realtime overhead, no processor spikes at 100% to stay fluid.

By deathwombat on 5/9/2011 11:23:11 AM , Rating: 2
First of all, it turns out that there is Java for ARM, so jDosbox will definitely work. And yes, there is overhead in emulation, but I'd like to think that a 700 MHz ARM processor can emulate a 386 DX 33.

The latest version of jDosbox only emulates DOSBox's "normal" core, which performs like a 486 DX/DX2 on my PC, but the "dynamic" core is coming along rapidly and performance is anywhere from 25 to 300% better under this core. I have no doubt that this processor can handle DOS games.

We should learn with the British
By MrWho on 5/6/2011 12:52:23 PM , Rating: 1
Reminds me of when microcomputers like the Sinclair Spectrum made a revolution in our homes. While the US kids were playing games on their consoles, European kids where learning how to code AND playing games on their computers.

They were glorious times back then. I'm glad to see they didn't loose it.

RE: We should learn with the British
By Azethoth on 5/6/2011 4:03:40 PM , Rating: 4
So true. If only American kids were not wasting time playing only computer games then Silicon Valley could have been in America instead of being in Europe. European kids are so smart;-)

By mindless1 on 5/6/2011 7:56:07 PM , Rating: 2

So true, and ironically enough in the US I first started programming on an Atari 800 gaming console. It wouldn't have been possible except for pirated games that were converted from ROM carts to floppy files that ran with a ROM emulator cartridge. Well, that stoked my interest but the Atari programming manuals didn't hurt either.

Missing the point guys
By leveller on 5/6/2011 11:08:04 AM , Rating: 3
The point of this is to teach kids about creation on a device that is easy to understand. They start with this and build up their skillsets from there. Any child interested in programming can be cheaply given one and taught the foundations.

RE: Missing the point guys
By JediJeb on 5/6/2011 6:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
Like the little cheap plastic flutes they give kids to see if they might like band before plopping down serious money on a real instrument. This would be a more or less disposable first computer for younger kids if they seem interested in programming or hardware design. The 21st century version of Heath Kits.

This isnt a laptop
By invidious on 5/9/2011 11:56:51 AM , Rating: 3
I dont see how this gets to the $100 figure for OLPC. You still need to add monitor, usb hub, keyboard, mouse, NIC. Even if you get super budget rate for all of the peripherals I dont think you are going to find an LCD monitor for less than $50.

The future of computing
By Ushio01 on 5/6/2011 2:06:22 PM , Rating: 2
Next will be a computer in a SD card that you slot in to "screens" i.e 4" phone, 10"Tablet, 24" Monitor or 42" TV.

Like BZDtemp mentions
By tharik on 5/6/2011 3:49:13 PM , Rating: 2
This is not necessarily for other countries.

I would rather send my child to school with a cheap $25 computer.
The school could have keyboards and monitors.

I do not want to send my child to school with an $800 iPad, because someone might consider an 8 year old with an $800 computer an easy target.

Who pays?
By diggernash on 5/6/2011 6:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
As long as someone pays for them with dollars they earned, I think they could be a great idea. If it is rolled in to foreign aid, or any other program that is supported by compulsory taxes, I am vehemently opposed.

By BSquared on 5/7/2011 4:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
So let me get this straight, you get a $25 dollar non-upgradeable computer ($25 to make...what's end price?), that requires seperately, an HDMI capable (or DVI with HDMI->DVI) monitor ($100), keyboard/mouse ($10), power supply ($10), and associated cables($5), SD Card (~$10-20)...which at current market I would say adds up to ~$160 dollars total for all. I can go get a Walmart "special", that has a full fledged upgradable system for ~$350-400, that comes with 19-22" monitor, keyboard/mouse, case, speakers, and has a heck of a lot more storage than this thing, not to mention speed, and RAM.

So what's to prevent manufacturers to make cheaper versions of Walmart "specials"? Because I know if they found a middle ground between the specs of OLPC type PC's and low end consumer PC's, they'd have a winner.

In closing thought, the only redeemable value above all its cons, is the fact after you already have all the external components, you can just upgrade the "USB Stick", portion of the computer whenever there is hardware upgrades/revisions, saving money in the long run. I just wished the specs were better, my PDA from 10 years ago has better specs, and it's guts are just as small.

By aliasfox on 5/9/2011 4:01:54 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see what's so special about this. This is really just the modern incarnation of the "plug into TV" style computers of the 80s. There are plenty of devices like these in China that are built into the bottom of a keyboard and plug into a standard TV. Sure, not hugely useful beyond text editing or playing a Nintendo emulator, but the concept's been around for ages.

I also don't see how this breaks any new frontiers on price - Apple sells the AppleTV for $100 with a fat profit margin - strip away the profit margin and add an input device, and you still have a basic computer for ~$60-70, storage, ethernet, and wifi included. Samsung and LG have unsubsidized Android phones for less than $200 - strip away the battery, the LCD screen, and the cellular radio and I'm sure you're pretty close on price as well.

Lastly, this type of ultra-cheap computer isn't designed for villages in the Serengeti - it's designed for towns in China, India, and Brazil where basic infrastructure's already in place (including water, electricity, and roads), but where even a $250 netbook may be a prohibitive expense. These families already have TVs to plug a tiny box like this into, and if they don't, they know someone who does.

Just think - parents have a combined income of $2-5k a year, you're in an apartment/house in a town where you have roads and a school you go to. After dinner, you plug a $50 USB-stick style computer like this into the back of the family TV so you can write your paper and play a few games on. If you have internet at home, you can use it to check Facebook and watch a few youtube videos. Once you're done, you unplug the stick computer and put it back in a drawer.

Heck, marketing last year's smartphone technology as basic HTPC technology in the US seems like a no brainer - an HDMI port, 8 GB of storage, an ARM A8, and a wifi chipset would be more than adequate to turn any HDTV into a "smart" TV...

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