Commentary

$100 PCs already here?

Remember that tech leader who predicted that we’d soon have $100 PC’s? Well, they’re already hereââ?¬â??sort of:

In about three months, a little-known company called Novatium plans to offer a stripped-down home computer for about $70 or $75. That is about half the price of the standard “thin clients” of this kind now sold in India, made possible in part by some novel engineering choices. Adding a monitor doubles the price to $150, but the company will offer used displays to keep the cost down. “If you want to reach the $100 to $120 price point, you need to use old monitors,” said Novatium founder and board member Rajesh Jain, a local entrepreneur who sold the IndiaWorld portal for $115 million in cash in 2000 and has started a host of companies since. “Monitors have a lifetime of seven to eight years.” It is this kind of entrepreneurial thinking that has made Jain the latest visionary to seek out today’s Holy Grail of home computing: a desktop that will start to bring the Internet to the more than 5 billion people around the world who aren’t on it yet.

Let’s hope world leadersââ?¬â??and rock starsââ?¬â??appreciate how this emerged (i.e. not through some grand top-down plan, probably didn’t involve a single benefit concert).

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.