$100 Computer Supporters May Want To Look At The History Of The Simputer

from the dead-and-gone dept

For all the hype and buzz over the $100 computer project, it seems that many of the programs supporters forget that this is hardly the first time such a project has been tried. It's been nearly five years since the Simputer first hit the market, with a very similar story to the $100 computer. It was supposed to be inexpensive, built on open source technologies, designed for the poor in third world countries and a way to "bridge the digital divide." So where is it today? Well, it's pretty much dead. No one's making Simputers any more, and while some people are still selling old ones, there's lots of finger pointing about why the project failed. Over the years, many people have tried to come up with similar offerings. There was the PCtvt that tried to do the same thing. It was announced in 2004, and we haven't heard a thing about it since. In 2005, AMD said they were going to try to make their own version of a super cheap computer to "bridge the digital divide." It's definitely nice to see all of these attempts to help modernize less developed nations, but so far, these programs don't have a very good track record, and it's still not clear what the latest program is doing that's any different than those that came before it.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 3:59pm

    Enthusiasm and big media buzz?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 4:08pm

    In Semi-Related News

    "PC-Success", a maker of low-end PC's that claims to have made $20 million in revenue since 2005, has disappeared. Suspicious creditors showed up at the company's office, the creditors were told to wait for half an hour, and employees fled out the back entrance.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Evilpimper, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 4:10pm

    i saw just give away all the computers that noone uses anymore. give them windowz 95 or sum sh!t.
    im jsut wondering how they are going to power these computers. and instead of making the $100 comp. why now make the free internet cafe's better than 100 comp project.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Trashmem, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 4:12pm

    100 buck PC

    The only thing worse than failure is not trying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Wifezilla, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 4:15pm


    The third world hasn't even embraced something as useful ad simple as the solar oven...why would they embrace the laptop computer?

    "A study from Central America by Dr. Dulce Cruz discussed a project in which women organized into groups to build and learn to use cookers. Some men were threatened by the fact that their wives were getting out of the house, meeting with other women, and learning new skills—and they beat their wives to discourage them."

    Can you imagine what would happen when some African village woman stumbles on the Oprah website?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jo Mamma, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 4:16pm


    Yo, yo, yo. In dis hizzie u g0tta spel yo shizit correkt or use'll git pwned, yo.

    What do you think this is, myspace? Please spell your shit correctly and don't pollute this site with your Internet lingo junk. It's annoying to read.

    In terms of your question, they power the $100 computer by a pull cord... it's human powered. And free Internet cafes wouldn't do much good if people don't have computers. Plus there are power, infrastructure, political stability issues too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Pope Ratzo, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 5:12pm

    Re: 100 buck PC

    Just because it hasn't worked doesn't mean it won't work.

    I'm glad they're trying, and I hope they keep trying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    William, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 5:27pm

    100 buck computer

    There is no point to using a crank or pull cord to power a computer. They should just put a cord on them. Computers are almost useless paperweights without the Internet anyway. And it's not like these poor people are going to have WIFI.

    They should also have no moving parts no fans a flash hard drive and built in WIFI. All you would really need a to develop is a mobile processor that runs really cool. And no battery, batteries is to expensive. And use open source software that could be made for less than 100 bucks. But i think it would be more of a kids computer than anything someone in the third would could ever use. Maybe Leapfrog or Fisher Price could make it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Trvth Jvstice, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 5:42pm

    Free Laptops

    I'm sure there are tons of old laptops out there sitting in storage rooms. Lload DSL (Damn Small Linux) on them and they'd work great.

    There are many programs for people to turn in old clothing and coats and what-not for the needy. I bet people would do the same for some of those old Pentium 1 233 Mhz laptops collecting dust in the closet.

    Collect them, pack them, distribute them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    MrPaladin, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: 100 buck PC

    "Just because it hasn't worked doesn't mean it won't work.

    I'm glad they're trying, and I hope they keep trying."

    if only that was the attitude of people in politics...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Bill, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 6:22am

    Cheap computers

    I think there is a need for inexpensive computers.

    I recently became active in our Local volunteer Emergency Response Team, and of the 50 volunteers, 12 don’t have a computer or internet access. I set up a nice forum for the group, but those 12 don’t have access.

    You’d think someone could come up with a keyboard that uses wi-fi (from your neighbors), and plugs into your TV like the retro arcade games. Your os and files could be stored on a usb flash drive.

    No printer, just an internet appliance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    ThreeToedSloth, Feb 4th, 2007 @ 2:44am

    Hell, take a look at an old Commodore64 computer as far as making an all-in-one system. Just think of all the processing power you could put into something that size NOW.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Michaela, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 12:24pm

    Re: 100 buck PC

    I totally agree with 100 buck PC --the day we stop trying will be a very sad day for us all--not just the poor disadvantaged people of this cynical world--my God, $100 computer efforts should be praised...it's not always the bottom line that brings gratification to a company, and the more the kinks get worked out, the better the product will be when it finally does work--an airplane wasn't built in a day either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Mike, Nov 12th, 2007 @ 3:00am

    Cheap computers for the poor

    Not enough profit in it for biz and not enough care in biz to motivate them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Clayton Hallmark, Nov 14th, 2007 @ 11:33am

    Computers WILL be small-cheap-easy

    Soon $100 computers will compete with Dell and HP. Computers costing over $500 will be the exception rather than the rule.

    The new Asus Eee changes everything. It points to the future, which is small, cheap, easy POCKET computers.

    How low will computers get? Perhaps $50 or even less.

    The pocket computer changes everything. Microcenter has the Eee in its stores, and Best Buy has them online. This changes everything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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