$100 laptop project is 'fundamentally flawed'

by admin June 21, 2006 at 4:16 am

The head of one of the largest charitable suppliers of re-conditioned PCs claims there are some basic problems with creating a bespoke laptop for the developing world

The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) scheme is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the history of the IT industry, according to Tony Roberts, chief executive and founder of UK charity Computer Aid International.

Speaking to ZDNet UK last week, Roberts claimed that although he would be delighted if the OLPC scheme proved a success, he had severe reservations about the strategy underpinning the project.

“The real reason that this won’t be successful is a misunderstanding of the history of technology. They are looking to introduce a non-standard, untested platform… which they will only sell to governments,” he said. “The decision to buy will be made by politicians who are elected every five years, and politicians generally don’t take the decision to risk their political future on non-standard technology.”

The project aims to develop a portable PC for use by children in the developing world for around $100 (?Ǭ£50). The price has risen since the scheme was first announced to around $135 to $140.

Speaking at the Red Hat Summit earlier this month, the head of the OLPC project, Nicholas Negroponte, said that past attempts to give children in developing countries access to PCs have failed because the children did not see the computers as their own, and as a result did not engage with them as expected.

Read more: ZDNet UK