A $100 PC?

I don’t think a $100 computer is out of the question in a three-year time frame. A lot of people forget that the first cell phones came out at $3,000 to $4,000 dollars and today are free. I think there’s going to be some of that same kind of movement with computing and communications devices.

That’s from Hector Ruiz, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices. Imagine telling a high school freshman that cell phones used to cost a few grand. How amazing it is that just 30 years ago an IBM-370-168 mainframe cost $3.4 million. Technology continues to improve in quality even as it falls in price. With this sort of progress, it’s easy to see how technology “takes” more jobs than the current worry, offshore outsourcing. How many secretaries would be replaced by $100 PCs? Yet there’s a lot more reason for optimism. As more and more people have access to the tools of creation and self expression, culture will continue to boom. So will entrepreneurship. Without the low cost of communication, many start-ups would stall. It’s getting easier for someone with a good idea to turn that idea into something real. (And $100 PCs could also make it easier for more people to telecommute.)