Print 84 comment(s) - last by Justin Case.. on May 23 at 5:06 PM

OLPC founder, Negroponte, has a few words for Intel on low-cost laptops

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the "One Laptop Per Child" initiative, accused chip maker Intel of undermining the OLPC by selling its own cut-price laptop, the Classmate.  Negroponte claims that Intel is trying to drive him out of the market.

According to BBC, Negroponte said that Intel hurt his mission in trying to distribute laptops to kids in developing countries "enormously".  Intel's chairman, Craig Barrett, has denied all claims of undercutting Negroponte's mission, stating, "We're not trying to drive [him] out of business. We're trying to bring capability to young people."

Though the hardware specifications differ between Intel’s low-cost laptops and Negroponte's, OLPC founder believes that the main problem is that his machines use AMD processors, Intel's main competitor. "Intel and AMD fight viciously," he told CBS. "We're just sort of caught in the middle."

Professor Negroponte also claimed that Intel has distributed marketing literature to governments entailing negative aspects of the One Laptop Per Child and outlining superior aspects of the Classmate.  Some of the literature had titles such as "the shortcomings of the One Laptop per Child approach".  Intel responded by saying that it was just making comparisons between the Classmate PC and the other device in the market.

Countries have until May 31 to place their orders for the first round of PCs.  The launch price will be $175 but the goal is to get them down to $100 each.  Intel is taking orders for the Classmate for over $200 each.

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RE: Economics 101
By Soviet Robot on 5/21/2007 8:13:22 PM , Rating: 3
If you're trying to do good without making money, you're not gonna be making laptop computers...
Laptops don't feed children, they don't cure disease, and they don't make their standard of living much better.

RE: Economics 101
By spluurfg on 5/21/2007 8:17:37 PM , Rating: 4
Laptops don't feed children, no... but simply feeding them doesn't always help them in the long run. Education, on the other hand, is usually correlated with a higher standard of living, and laptops are reasonable educational tools.

That's not to say that laptops would be incredibly handy for those who are starving, but maybe cheap laptops would be handy to non-widespread-famine/plague developing countries that have basic infrastructure but limited funding for education.

RE: Economics 101
By redbone75 on 5/21/2007 8:45:07 PM , Rating: 5
Give a man a fish, he eats for a day.
Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

Remember that proverb?

RE: Economics 101
By sonoran on 5/21/2007 9:16:35 PM , Rating: 5

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day.
Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

Remember that proverb?

Sure do. Over the past decade Intel has taught over 3 million teachers about the use of technology in the classroom ( ), and is working toward teaching 10 million more.

Teaching starts with teachers - not with hardware.

RE: Economics 101
By jskirwin on 5/21/2007 9:38:18 PM , Rating: 5
Teaching starts with teachers - not with hardware.

Actually it starts with parents. Kids in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan have much less exposure to PCs in the classroom, yet they outperform US kids significantly in all subjects.

Children don't need technology to learn: they need parents who check their homework and pass along good, solid learning skills.

I'm all for techno fixes whenever possible, but when it comes to education, I'd rather kids read - and learned from - books.

RE: Economics 101
By hermitd on 5/22/2007 5:35:33 AM , Rating: 3
very true. I wouldn't compare the education i had in India with education here in the UK. We learned with teachers and not with computers yes there were computers but most of the teaching was in class rooms with a teacher and a board and a set of books and i think i turned out okay. i keep hearing people whin about education here is so tough on children. We had bloody tough education (we studied stuff in class 2 - 3 which is taught here in class 6 - 7 if not later).
Computers are a good learning too but there is a time and a place. Kids need to learn basics before getting hands on computers otherwise they will never learn know to write forget do multiplications / divisions the hard way.

RE: Economics 101
By Wonga on 5/22/2007 5:59:14 AM , Rating: 3
Very true. I've had first hand experience with teaching skills in the UK today (being a supplier of IT equipment to schools just over a year ago), and I can say without a doubt that a huge number of teachers use IT equipment to make their lives easier, not to give the children better education. Much of the time, the children are sent down to the computer cluster room and are told to browse some pre-built web site containing childrens' education programs. Whether this is down to the teacher's own personal decision to get away from actually engaging with the kids, or whether they are forced into giving the kids a load of hours a week in front a computer is unclear, but my honest opinion is that education is suffering as a result.

Even when I was in school over 5 years ago we were often taken down to the computers to learn such things as DRAMA and RELIGIOUS EDUCATION! Now someone tell me how that couldn't have been done in a classroom? And like I say, that was 5 years ago...

Anyway, contrary to my rant above, I do think these laptop schemes are good, as long as the schools in those countries don't go down the same path as the UK and use IT equipment just for the sake of it.

RE: Economics 101
By xphile on 5/21/2007 11:56:50 PM , Rating: 5
So what you're saying is..

Give a child a low-cost laptop, they will have fun for a day.
Teach a child to build low-cost laptops, they will grow up to be Michael Dell?

Ok yes yes I do get it - just couldn't resist the funny :-)

RE: Economics 101
By StevoLincolnite on 5/21/07, Rating: -1
RE: Economics 101
By StevoLincolnite on 5/23/2007 2:51:48 AM , Rating: 2
Eh, They can't run folding at home?
(Thats what I gather from being demoted).
Anyhow, it allows them access to the worlds information, they can access new farming techniques, Learn new medical techniques, research on how to build better houses, irrigation, etc.
I don't know about you, but I use my computer for more than just games, When I was back in highschool, I researched on how to build a small generator to power a small light globe using running water. (You could put it in a stream, or from a running tap, and the energy produced gave enough boost to power the pump and light globe, so as not to waste water).

RE: Economics 101
By RjBass on 5/21/2007 11:05:46 PM , Rating: 3
Apparently you have not spent much time in a third world nation.

Most of these laptops will be delivered to children who don't even have books in school. Each laptop is being given to the child to keep. Have you ever seen an underprivileged child with one good sole possession? That child will take care of it for life, until the laptop is 10+ years old. He will pass it down to younger brothers and sisters etc......

The children of third world nations need this. If they don't have books, and other basic tools for a proper education then how can they even think about competing in a modern day market when they are older? These children not only get the vast wealth of knowledge from the Internet, but the basic skills to perform a better job.

What's more, these kids are expected to fix and service their own laptops (The Intel version does not have this option) so not only will they get a better education, but they will also learn the basics about computer repair.

So a underprivileged kid gets one of these new laptops, he downloads all the information he needs for his report due next week, and after school he takes it home, to his hut that doesn't have electricity or running water, and thanks to the hand crank he can continue to work on his report regardless if the Internet connection exist or not. That is another feature that the Intel laptop does not provide.

The $100 laptop can be dunked in water, dropped from 10+ feet etc...

The $100 laptop was built for a child, looks like it is for a child, is designed specifically for a child. Have you even seen the Intel laptop? It looks and acts just like a miniature regular laptop, and most def won't stand the test of time in the dust, dirt, mud, and basic surroundings of a third world nation.

Intel's only motive to this whole thing is purely $$. Again they are trying to do nothing but drive the little guy out of business and thus will be hurting everybody else in the process.

The $100 laptop for these kids is an excellent idea that will be worth more then it's weight in gold.

I have already seen the benefits of these laptops in use, and to even try to describe how these kids feel now with these things is impossible. It is amazing.

RE: Economics 101
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 5/22/2007 9:55:47 AM , Rating: 4
Oh what a wonderful vision.

Look, the reason most third world countries *are* third world countries is because of corrupt and/or incompetitent governments. Laptops are not going to fix that.

Do you think these laptops will actually make it to the kids who need them? Or will they be bartered away just like the food shipments for famine victims?

To me this is all about rich nerds trying to absolve their own guilt about being rich. A lot of style and very little substance.

RE: Economics 101
By Oregonian2 on 5/22/2007 5:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
That's a nice vision, but that $100 laptop has a price of $175.

If his effort has to hide behind ignorance of its downsides and that Intel is bad for exposing his vision's faults, then maybe his vision wasn't so good afterall and maybe was just an ego thing with him -- which would explain that which sounds like whining.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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