A cheap laptop boasting wireless network access and a hand-crank to provide electricity are expected to start shipping in February or March to help extend technology to school-aged children worldwide.
The machines are to sell for $100, slightly less than its cost. The aim is to have governments or donors buy them and give full ownership to the children.
"These robust, versatile machines will enable children to become more active in their own learning," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters.
I don't understand how giving a hand-cranked laptop to some kid in the bush of the Serengeti, or in the mountains of Laos, or wherever the heck these are supposed to go, is going to help anyone. The article specifically mentions Brazil, Thailand, Nigeria, and Egypt. Just who is going to put up all these wireless nodes so that the bedouin kids in Egypt, or the Brazilians in the rain forest, can surf the web and catch up on the latest happenings on Lost?
I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see how this benefits anyone to any great degree. I view it as akin to the proposal a few years ago (guess which city!) to give every homeless person his/her own shopping cart. Certainly the money spent on shopping carts could be better spent on the homeless, and certainly the money spent on these educational toys/fads, and the infrastructure needed to support them, could be better spent on the same kids these computers purport to help.