Ok, How About A $12 Computer?

from the that's-more-like-it dept

Last week, we wrote about supposed efforts in India to build a $10 computer. However, Indian officials later explained that there was a typo in the transcript to the speech in question, and they really meant a $100 computer. But don’t think others aren’t trying for cheaper computers. The Raw Feed points out that some folks at MIT (ironically, the home of OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte) are working on building $12 computers for the developing world, using the old Apple II as a base. It seems like an interesting plan, though still quite far away from reality. But, still, in this space, more competition is good, no matter how much Negroponte wishes he were the only provider.

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Comments on “Ok, How About A $12 Computer?”

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Joel Coehoorn says:

Just the beginning

Imagine they succeed, and can build an appleII equivalent for $12, and it’s done in two years. Now imagine they keep the process going, and are able to update components at the same rate the technology has moved for the next 20 years. What have is the ability to buy today’s computer for $12. Of course, 20 years from now that will seem… antiquated. But we sure seem to be able to do a lot with the technology in it’s current state.

Will says:

Re: How about a cure for cancer?

I agree, but I doubt the money they spend on trying to find this cheep computer would find the cure to cancer. Plus think of all education applications for a 12$ computer. Personally I wouldn’t be effected cause I’ve grown up with a ‘privileged’ life, but even so those who don’t have the money for a computer this would be very helpful.

mcs says:

Re: Re: How about a cure for cancer?

“Plus think of all education applications for a 12$ computer.”

I didnt read that the computer provided the tools that modern businesses use (ie microsoft “blank”). If that’s the case, I can’t think if any education applications. How about $12 text books, there’s a nice step towards better education.

ET says:

How about sending more probes out to Mars to search for life?

Maybe we can stop wasting cash searching for life on other planets! Let’s focus on helping the life out on this one! They could redirect 10% of that cash into producing this $12 computer for the poor. Use 45% for drilling for more oil and building up refining plants in the good old USA and the other 45% in alternative fuels (Wind, Solar, Nuclear!!), again in the good old USA. Stop sending our cash to China, Middle East, and freaking MARS!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How about a cure for cancer?

“A $12 computer probably wouldn’t have enough memory to store a file the size of a textbook, or the ability to get online”

Wow, you really don’t know much about file sizes do you?

A 700 page, graphics intense PDF document weighs in at 6.5MB. Going for text only you can get 700 pages in about 1.6MB.

Hardly what you’d call space intensive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Most people toss a computer

when it get out dated. Those pc could be used for much longer if we did not watch movies or play video games on them. We could ship them to countries that don’t have a pc in every home and those people would be more than happy to use them. I have thrown away enough pc parts over the last year to build at least one if not 2 old slow pc that I could have given away. I’m just lazy.

Meoip says:

I have two $25 computers which this would be a nice addition to. My employees print pictures for me, I bought them a printer that has a card reader, since most of them can’t operate a computer this functions as a computer to print pictures. This is counts as my first computer since it serves the function of a computer. I also have a 8 year old clunker which they can type reports on it prints the reports and saves them as PDF’s and RDF. I bought both this year for $25 each.

All that to say we can have $25 computers that serve specialized tasks. Right now we use our single computers for to much they don’t need to do and shouldn’t do. My average computer at work doesn’t need to surf the internet or design graphics it needs to print pictures and fill out reports and access a small database.

Alannis Morisette says:


“The Raw Feed points out that some folks at MIT (ironically, the home of OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte) are working on building $12 computers for the developing world, using the old Apple II as a base”

How is that ironic? People in the same area have similar goals?!? That’s SO ironic!

Trerro says:

For those mentioning cancer

If computers are more widely available, that means more people in developing countries are capable of doing some heavy math processing – possibly including someone with a genetic idea that WILL cure cancer, who never would’ve gotten there if his country didn’t have cheap computers while he was learning.

Ditto on space tech – more computers = better education and more people with ideas having more access to the computing power needed to develop those ideas.

So no, this isn’t a waste of money, it’s an investment that pays off many, many times over in the long run.

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