Wednesday, November 14, 2007

XO laptop commercial on Fox 5

Saw a commercial last night on network television for the Give One, Get One program that is running for the next couple of weeks.

For those of you not familiar with the One Laptop Per Child project, it's an MIT initiative started a few years ago by Nicholas Negroponte. It's also been otherwise referred to as the "$100 laptop" since that is the target price point. The program is targeted at providing children in third world nations with the tools necessary to stop being third world nations.

On the technical side, it's a really cool piece of hardware. While it's slow in performance compared to typical laptops, it's a ruggedly designed piece of hardware with Wifi and mesh networking, a display you can read in broad daylight, flash memory in place of a hard drive (so no disk crashes), and it's entirely open source (Linux based kernel even with open source firmware). It also supports various ways to provide power as opposed to a power cord, including a hand-crank and a solar panel.

In a number of ways, it's better than laptops you can buy commercially.

The program running for the next couple of weeks is an opportunity to buy two laptops, one of which is sent to you and the other is sent to a child in a developing nation. It's also includes a free year of T-Mobile Wifi hotspot access, which in and of itself would normally cost $29.99 per month. So if you were thinking of getting T-Mobile for $360 for the first year, it's not too far off to spend $399 and get a free laptop to go with it (oh yeah, and get a laptop to someone who **actually** needs one).