OLPC’s Negroponte Responds to Intel’s Classmate 2 and New Low-Cost Laptops
The past few weeks have seen an influx of new low-cost laptops aimed at the education market. We compiled a full chart of over 10 systems, but official announcements of Intel’s Classmate or the CTL 2go PC and the HP Mini-Note confirm that the small notebook market is exploding with players. Of course, there was one lonely system in the market before them all. One Laptop Per Child’s XO notebook was OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte’s vision to create an affordable ($100) laptop for children long before ASUS had its $399 Eee PC or HP considered making a Mini-Note for children in classrooms. Given Negroponte’s long drawn-out feud with Intel and its Classmate we realized this was an opportune time to check in with him and get his thoughts on Intel’s recent system announcement and the newcomers. What is your take on the second generation Classmate by Intel? They made many steps forward with the CMPC2, but the display is still really very weak. 480 lines does not work. I am glad they adopted mesh networking. Intel seems to be aiming at the American education market. How is OLPC America progressing? There is nothing to report on OLPC America, yet. But I am surprised—read: astonished—that Intel is entering the domestic laptop market. I cannot imagine that Dell, HP, Lenovo and others will keep any allegiance to a supplier that competes with them. It furthermore seems like a wrong-minded strategic move, because Intel’s margins on processors are high, whereas the laptop is low(er). Will OLPC America look to deploy the XO with Windows XP, rather than Sugar? OLPC worldwide is working on a dual-boot system. What do you think about HP and others entering the educational laptop space? How do you feel about pioneering a whole new type of laptop market? OLPC forced a market that was destined anyway, but forced it to happen two or three years sooner than normal. That’s fine and kids will benefit, albeit not necessarily those in the remote and rural regions of the world’s poorest countries (OLPC’s mission). Keep in mind where OLPC is going: the $50 laptop.