Saturday, April 07, 2012

Cost of laptops fall down from $200 To $35

Children are our future and our legacy and deserve all the support we can give them. Creativity and experience of people could be increased, if they are exposed in diverse field during childhood. Unfortunately, Nepal being an under developed country, she is not able to give opportunity to every children to expose towards education and technology.  However, we hope. In an evermore technological world, however, are we equipping our children to be passive users or do we understand the importance of empowering them to do more than simply download songs and videos created by other faraway peoples?

The "One Laptop Per Child" project
One Laptop Per Child's mission statement runs as follows:

  • To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.
Few people would care to disagree with any of the above.

In 2010, the One Laptop Per Child project was selling its computers for around $200. In collaboration with governments in developing countries across the globe, by 2011 1.84 million units had been shipped to precisely the children the mission statement was aimed at. Originally, however, this computer was intended to sell at $100. The rising costs of projects such as these are sometimes unavoidable. In this case, unhappily, as the data here demonstrates, sales have not been as buoyant as they could have been.

Aakash Ubislate Tablet PC
A potentially strong competitor, at least on virtual paper, looked as if it might be the “Made in India” Aakash Ubislate tablet. Priced around $62, its price advantage against the OLPC laptop was clear, with the price dropping to $50 for institutions which received the tablet via government initiatives. As with many cheap alternatives to the iPads and PCs of this world, there were advantages and disadvantages to this product which made it hard to evaluate one way or the other.
Advantages: Portability, Cheap, Expansion and connectivity
Disadvantages: Poor screen, Poor battery, No Android Market
There is one thing which must be said in its favour, however: its order books have been extremely healthy. The upgraded Ubislate7+ version, which has rapidly served to apply the user experience of the earlier model, has already generated over two million pre-orders since it was put on the market at the beginning of 2012.

What about the Raspberry Pi ?  (Picture)
Contrast the above experiences, then, with this year's other massive computing sensation: the Raspberry Pi. It is said there have been over “2 million expressions of interest or pre-orders” since the product was launched on 29th February 2012. Far more significantly, this single-board computer – without a case or even an onboard clock, and which runs Linux on an ARM processor – costs less than $35. Aimed at teaching schoolchildren how to program and generally get their hands dirty by playing around with the inside of the hardware in question, it follows a recent British government report which concluded that children spent far too much time being taught how to use software as relatively passive end-users and not enough time learning how to be creative with information technologies.
It is, of course, early days – but, with such computing projects, we may soon be seeing our young people designing websites and technologies for areas of business ranging from cash isa transfer sites to new and novel kinds of online communities.

Does the future of computing really lie in the palm of one's hand?
Many people have been arguing over the past few years that the future of computing is mobile. Cory Doctorow recently made an impassioned plea, however, on behalf of computing technologies and mindsets which allowed people to continue to act as cyber-mechanics, as they proceeded to want to open up and fiddle around inside the boxes of their machines.

From the locked-down but unlockable versions of the OLPC laptop to the caseless and totally open Raspberry Pi of recent months, via the Ubislate tablet of cut-down yet apparently marketable compromises, it's clear that the key to cheap computing has no one-size-fits-all solution. If we had to side with Doctorow, though, it's surely the Raspberry Pi and its fellow competitors we'd be supporting.
Our children do, after all, deserve the very best. The very best isn't a closed piece of kit which you can't even unscrew but something which allows them to change the world around them and interact with its marvels and glories.

That's what kids do.
That's what we should allow them to do like Mahabir Pun did a lot for rural people and fecilated them to access computer and internet.