$100 laptops

Nicholas Negroponte, director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a plan to make laptops that will cost just $100: His laptop will

be a little different in design from the sleek machines some of us in the west have learned to love or covet. It will be foldable in different ways, encased in bump-proof rubber and will include a hand-crank to give it power in those corners of the globe where electricity supply is patchy.

One minute’s worth of cranking gets you 10-minutes of power:

To cut costs, the machines would have a 500-megahertz processor provided by Advanced Micro Devices, which is a little slow by today’s lightning-speed standards. However, it would be set up for wireless connectivity, known as wi-fi, to give users the greatest chance of hooking up to the internet. It would run on a Linux platform, which is freely available, rather than Microsoft’s more expensive Windows. … The first prototype of the machine should be ready by November and Mr Negroponte – who was one of the first prophets of the internet before most of us understood the word – hopes to put them into production next year. In fact, he expects to churn out about 15 million of them within one year, shipping most of them at first to children in Brazil, Egypt, Thailand and South Africa.

Article here. Info on $100 PCs in India here. Advanced Micro Devices’ Hector Ruiz weighs in on $100 PCs here.