Poor Man's Computer
The Impact of Cheap Computing and Communication for the Developing World
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- # 1 : Poor Man's Computer
My presentation today is about a collision. Communications and computing technologies have been getting cheaper, and the great majority of humanity has been getting richer. Our part of the world is like European nobility at the start of the industrial revolution: about to be much enriched ourselves, but even more startled by the change in the status of those around us: about to be no longer so special.
- # 2 : Eee PC and a Leica Camera
First, those declining prices. Last November, I was taken with the absolute need to pick up a $400 "EEE PC" from the Taiwan company, ASUSTek It's the size of a hardback book, weighs less than a kilogram, and has no hard disk, just 4GB of solid-state Flash memory, like a thumb drive or an iPod nano.
- # 3 : Eee PC docked to screen, keyboard, mouse
It's low-powered by today's standards, which is to say, a supercomputer if it were 1999. It runs Linux, and has a full office suite that handles all Microsoft files; you can plug it into a full-size keyboard, mouse, and monitor as shown here, and some nights it's all I put on at home, because it's nearly silent. The killer app for me is that the VGA plug means you can give presentations with it, as I am today.
- # 4 : Eee PC in Cookie Tin
Tom Hanks, playing astronaut Jim Lovell in "Apollo 13" gets an audience laugh when Lovell wows touring congressmen with the claim that NASA has had to invent a computer that fits in one room. Mine fits in a cookie tin I bought to give it some more travel-hardening as well as a place to stash a small mouse and ethernet cord.
- # 5 : Eee PC in tin, under hardback
...and even then, the whole thing can almost hide under a hardback book. I've been surprised by the reaction to my little purchase: everybody wants to see it, my wife had to get her own, making that the second of some four more sales I've stimulated by showing it around. My wife got the $300 model with less battery time and no webcam. ASUSTek has been happily surprised at it all and plans to sell some 5 million of them in 2008.
- # 6 : Frank Hayes Computerworld Column, November 2007
Computerworld columnist Frank Hayes believes that the new mini-laptop market has been created by a single good idea, using existing technology, that the industry just hadn't thought of before. He called it a "game-changer", a new product category. The original idea comes from MIT, a professor named Nicholas Negroponte, who started a project called...
- # 7 : XO Laptop
"One Laptop Per Child". The idea is named the "XO laptop" and unfortunately nicknamed the "$100 latop", since the final price came in at $188 and prompted criticism instead of applause for getting it down below $200, which is the really crucial number.
- # 8 : XO With Cup of Coffee
It's of a similar size to mine, but half the RAM and horsepower. It makes that work by using a lightweight version of Linux, and has new networking tricks that let a whole roomful of them share one internet connection. Best of all it has an amazing screen that works in colour with a backlight like all other LCDs, but in black-and-white mode can also be read like a piece of paper, by reflected light, even in direct sunlight. That makes it a terrific book-reader. Negroponte hopes to educate half a world with it, but we'll get back to that later.
- # 9 : XO Cost breakdown
For the moment, we'll focus on the astounding fact that a complete, useful laptop can be built for under $200. The price of the lid, shown here in purple, containing the remarkable screen, the wifi, a six-hour battery and a webcam, comes in at sixty-three bucks. We've gone from over $2000 to under $200 because of Moore's Law.
- # 10 : Moore's Law for Intel Processors
We've all heard of "Moore's Law"; not a real law, but an observation by Gordon Moore of Intel that the number of chip transistors per dollar was doubling every year. Here it's shown for Intel's own processors, from the 4004 that went into the first calculators, past the 8086 that made the IBM PC run, through the 80386 that they called a "mainframe on a chip", and now to the latest generation that touches on a billion transistors per chip. The circuit elements are now 45nm across, meaning you could fit 300 of them onto the top of a human blood cell.
- # 11 : Moore's Law for multiple generations
The "law" soon had to be revised, to the doubling being every 18 months, and now often stated as a doubling every two years, as diminishing returns were reached. The Law is not really about the physics of chips. According to this historical review of computing, the law applies back through the technological generations of transistors, vacuum tubes, and electromechanical computers of the late 19th century. It's a law about what efforts we will go to - and pay for - to get faster information processing. The law has a corollary stated that the price of chip factories doubles every four years. Once just millions, chip fabs now cost over 10 billion dollars each and can only be paid for with sales of at least a hundred million chips of each model. It's anybody's guess how long they can keep shrinking the technology in the lab; but the industry will stop when not enough people buy the product to pay for 20 or 50 billion dollar factories. They will soon need sales in the billions of chips per model just to keep going.
- # 12 : Exponential improvements in steam engines
It's not the first exponential improvement of technology in history. Both trains and airplanes improved their performance on exponential curves until economic, not technical, limitations stopped progress. The Concorde was actually pulled from service for economic, not technical, reasons, and now celebrities must travel below the speed of sound. Even the original engine of the industrial revolution improved on an exponential curve. You'll note the efficiency on the Y-axis is a log scale. I took the raw data from a display by my U of Calgary professor, Grant Walker, who noted that successive steam engines, invented about 60 years apart, each took half the coal to get a horsepower-hour of work done as the previous generation. The one exception was James Watt's, whose engine doubled efficiency again only four years after the Smeaton engine came out. His was the first really economic one, kick-starting a whole industry.
- # 13 : Dan Bricklin's Web Page on the IBM PC announcement
The equivalent sales kick-start for business PCs would surely be the IBM PC. Dan Bricklin, the inventor of the first spreadsheet, kept a recording of the announcement being heard by his staff and has the transcript up on a web page.
- # 14 : Bricklin's actual IBM PC Price
With dual-floppies (the first hard disk was two years away, in the IBM XT) and a decent set of accessories and printer, it was $4500, in 1981 dollars. Bricklin's staff all whistled with appreciation that Big Blue was coming out with such a competitive low price.
- # 15 : HP 9000-520 PC
And it was a hot price, for corporate buyers. While home PCs like the Apple and Atari were only about $2000, serious computing machines for businessmen and engineers were then limited to HP computers like this HP 9000-520 we used to have in the Waterworks lab when I started here, and those were nearly $10,000.
- # 16 : 1989 Computer Paper Ad Page
Moore's Law not only meant speed and memory increased exponentially, it also meant the price dropped a little. This 1989 ad page from the back of a local computer publication has adequate machines for $2200, serious ones for $3200, and the top-end offering is $7000, for boys who must have the biggest toys on their block.
- # 17 : 2007 Computer Ad Page from the Calgary Sun
I like how this set of ads from last months Sun has all different products and numbers, but exactly the same format - computer ads have become a classic literary genre, like the murder mystery. Notice how the whole range of prices have dropped. Decent machines for $600, the high-end offerings are still under a thousand. That's a near four-fold drop in the price range over less than 20 years. My rule-of-thumb is that the market now takes four out of five of their Moore's Law doublings in the form of increased power and memory, but the fifth in the form of lower price ranges - prices seem to about halve every decade.
- # 18 : Dell Ad from December 2007
I found prices over $1000 on the high-end page of a Dell flyer last month, but I couldn't top $2000 even on their best machine for the video-game boys. How do I know the model on the right is just for gamers? The memory, is brand-named "Corsair Dominator". The market has spoken, and we don't want to pay thousands for PCs any more.
- # 19 : Calgary Herald Article about Laptop Sales
We'll take some of our increased value in lower prices and portability. This article from the Herald the other week says that desktop sales are actually in decline, now, whereas laptops are up 21% - they'll be the majority of sales this year in the US, and a majority worldwide by next year.
- # 20 : Graph of Plummeting Flash Memory Prices
This just-invented whole new category of mini-laptops is made possible by the chips of "flash ram" you use in USB memory keys and iPod nanos. That technology has been following the original Moore's Law for some years - halving in price every single year. That's started to slow down, now, but still, the Eee PC of Xmas 2010 should have four times the solid-state disk in it - 16GB. And it won't just be much faster with double the RAM and a better screen, it'll be cheaper, as well, as the market demands that part of the Moore's Law improvements appear that way. Soon enough, their low-end offering will be at the $200 price point, not today's $300.
- # 21 : Google Search on the terms "DVD", "magic" and "price point"
This Google search I did on the terms "DVD", "magic" and "price point" confirms a common opinion from consumer electronics market analysts that sales, rise sharply when the price drops below $200. That's when VCR and then DVD sales took off. And remember, the industry needs, not a business model of steady replacement, but exponentially expanding sales to pay for those exponentially expanding chip fab prices. So they'll surely produce $200 products that will see everybody buying a couple of them.
- # 22 : AP News Story about "More TVs than People"
Which will happen. It was 2006 when this AP wire story came out that the US now has more televisions than people. 54% of homes have 3 or more.
- # 23 : 2007 and 1972 Calculators
It probably already has more calculators than people, even though the first scientific calculator, the HP-35, came out in 1972 at $395 - the same price as my new Eee PC, and like my Eee PC, needed to be recharged after 3 hours. The one on the left has more functions, runs for months from button-sized watch batteries, and cost $1.25...
- # 24 : Where I found the $1.25 calculator
...in a dollar store that catered to a poor Hispanic neighbourhood in Mesa, Arizona. Better brand-names are still $8 and $10 at Staples, but $1.25, or $1 for the four-function calculators beside it, are the prices their traffic will bear. Similarly, Professor Negroponte shocked the whole industry into a new competition when he came out with a useful product for the poor man's pocketbook, and the notion of making billions of them. Hey, billions -- just the number the chipmakers need to sell to stay in the game at all.
- # 25 : Water For People funding letter
Even as they applauded his technology, however, some people wondered if Negroponte was crazy. Giving laptops to starving Africans? Don't they need food, clean water, and clothing, first? Why not give them Rolex watches or mink coats? I'm afraid those people are watching too little of "Asia Business Report" on BBC Newsworld and too much of the infomercials and letters like this one. It's the "Water For People" funding request that hit my mailbox the other month. I don't say problems like Eliza's in Malawi are not real. Malawi's average income is $600 per year, and Eliza, as a recent orphan, is poor within her own culture and in real jeopardy. Eliza's real, but so are the people in Malawi who have much more than $600 per year, people of little concern to charities, and of much interest to corporations.
- # 26 : Global Income Distribution, U. Denver
According to often-quoted figures, at least a billion other people make less than $1/day, figures used by the UN and some think-tanks that study world poverty. There are billions more below $5 per day, according to this study from the University of Denver at Globalhumancondition.org. But these figures bothered Economics Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin of Columbia University in New York. He discovered that these estimates, deliberately or not, were making high-school errors in statistics, and produced a paper in 2005 showing the real figures were about 300 million people at the $1/day level, after 30 years of sharp decline. We'll be using his figures, rather than these or the similar ones in a 2002 U.N. report that lamented how the poorest fifth of humanity made under a dollar a day, and the richest fifth - us - made 50 or 70 times as much.
- # 27 : Gwynne Dyer's "gwynnedyer.com" Home Page
For different reasons, that U.N. report bothered Canadian journalist Gwynne Dyer, whose excellent articles you can find archived here at gwynnedyer.com on the web. Just click on the "latest articles" link here, then the "2003" link on the next page, and from that list of 2003 titles, click on
- # 28 : Gwynne Dyer's "Middle Three-Fifths" article excerpt
...a column titled "Human Development" about "The Middle Three Fifths". It finally hit Dyer that these reports, so focused on the plight of the bottom fifth, ignore the whole middle of humanity. Dyer was on vacation in Turkey, where he has seen a nation lift itself up from rural poverty to urban development over 30 years. We might call their cinderblock apartments tenements, he writes, but the Turks prefer them to their old dwellings for the electric light, heat, and water.
- # 29 : Development in Cairo
As Dyer points out, people everywhere want a better life for their children and will work and sacrifice as needed to provide it. He notes that Turkey doesn't have an especially good government; just not a very bad one. All that government need really do is two things: provide reasonable physical security from war and internal strife - which lets out many of the worlds poorest countries - and prevent internal corruption and criminality from making people believe that all their efforts will be stolen from them - which lets out most of the rest. Given both those two rules, he writes, any nation can lift itself from poverty to reasonable comfort in three generations.
- # 30 : Shack in Soweto, woman and her two children
Three generations? Is he telling us that this woman in the very poor end of the township of Soweto in South Africa, living with her two children in a little shack, is going to have grandchildren sipping latte's? It's been proven. My full name is Roy Robb Brander, the middle name from my mother's family name.
- # 31 : Jimmie Robb
...and this is my grandfather, Jimmie Robb, standing in front of..
- # 32 : Jimmie Robb and his friends, Merrit BC, 1908
the comparable shack he lived in for years with his coal-miner colleagues in Merrit, BC, on Vancouver Island. The year is 1908 - one hundred years ago this spring. He had travelled here from Scotland in hopes of a better life. After he moved the family to Drumheller, Alberta, he became a union activist, the first president of the UMWA in Drumheller, my mother said. In this picture, at 23, he was already an experienced coal miner, having been pulled out of school at 14, which, he told my mother, made him cry himself to sleep at night for two weeks.
- # 33 : "Breaker Boys", Lewis Hine photograph, 1911
This was common at the time, in both Europe and North America. Coal mines were full of boys as young as twelve.
- # 34 : "Child Spinner", Lewis Hine photograph, 1909
...girls didn't go into coal mines; mostly factories, which were dangerous enough too. But they were even less likely to complete an education.
- # 35 : Cousin Jim Robb, 1990's
Our story has a happy ending as it does for most families of the developed world; Jimmie's kids went on to high school, their children went on to University if they wanted. My cousin, Jim Robb - grandson of - became a labour lawyer and counsel to the Alberta Union of Public Employees. He just retired from the law faculty at the U of Alberta. I'm not bragging about my family, proud as the first Jimmie would have been of the second; my point is that this is the story of nearly every family in the western world.
- # 36 : FAO Data on Global Calories per day
As it happened for western nations from 1910 to 1960, so has that speed of development been happening for the last 50 years across the rest of the world. This chart is from UN data (FAO 2000a) and it shows that all the world has been increasing it's ability to feed itself for all our lives. Asia passed a comfortable 2700 calories 10 years ago. Even Sub-Saharan Africa's problem is that it has only increased calories per person per day slightly, from 2000 calories to 2200. Even that is still an increase, not a decrease.
- # 37 : Cover of "Who Will Feed China?" by Lester Brown
Doom-cryers like Lester Brown, and his 1995 book "Who Will Feed China?", were confronted just five years later...
- # 38 : BBC News Article on Obesity in China, 2000
...by news articles about obesity in China. China still has hunger and some apalling rural poverty, to be sure, affecting hundreds of millions. That stimulated criticism of China funding a space program out of national pride, when they still had such poverty.
- # 39 : Earth Rise Over The Moon, William Anders
Yeah, right. In the year 1968, that computer that would fit in a room was sending Jim Lovell and two other Americans to the moon...
- # 40 : TIME photo of Drift Kentucky, 1968
...just not these Americans photographed in Drift, Kentucky...
- # 41 : TIME photo of Marks, Mississippi, 1968
...and probably not these Americans in Marks, Mississippi...
- # 42 : TIME Magazine Cover, May 17, 1968
...when a TIME magazine cover story for May 17, 1968
- # 43 : Map from TIME Magazine Poverty Story, 1968
...estimated that 30 million Americans were poor enough to have
some hunger issues - some 15% of the population.
- # 44 : Income Distribution, US & Japan, 1970
The problem, of course, was because of income distribution,
graphed for many countries at a fine website called gapminder.org, which
has brought to life Professor Sala-i-Martin's estimates.
The income of the individual is along the X-axis, a log scale;
the number of people at that yearly income, all in constant year
2000 dollars, is on the Y-axis.
The two countries compared are the US, with
more people and in darker green behind, and Japan lighter green, in front.
- # 45 : Income Distribution, US & Japan, 1980
By 1980, both countries were more populous and richer But
Japan is showing signs of losing the bulge on the left
of the distribution, where an extra-large poorer group had been
clustered. It's also losing
a smaller bulge on the right where I guess the old feudal
class that got them into world war 2 were dying off.
- # 46 : Income Distribution, US & Japan, 1990
By 1990, this effect in Japan is becoming more pronounced, but in
the US, the poorer income group was not merging into the larger
bell curve, but becoming more numerous and developing a separate bell
curve of their own, with barely a third the income.
The mode, the most common income, found at the tip of the curve,
is maybe $8000/year, or $20 per day, versus over $20,000/year
at the second mode of the distribution.
- # 47 : Income Distribution, US & Japan, 2000
By 2000, income distribution in Japan is practically one smooth
bell curve, while the US income groups are as divided as ever.
The distribution is even starting to show a bulge to the right
for another separate group of wealthier people.
- # 48 : Income Distribution, Mexico and Brazil, 2000
This "bimodal split" as statisticians say, is deeper in the
like Mexico, shown here in green, and more populous Brazil,
behind it in blue. The distribution shapes are
nearly twins save that Brazil has an even larger poor group. But
note that both nations have a distinct upper-income group that, at
about $20,000/year, is roughly as well-off as the main mode in the US;
tens of millions of people in the market for electronics, homes
- # 49 : Income Distribution in Canada, 1970-1998
Here's a difference between the US and Canada,
which has moved almost as far as Japan
towards a single-mode income distribution
between 1970, in blue, and 1998, in red - and the distributions look the
same for Australia and most of Europe; some lumps
in the curve in places, but pretty close to a single
- # 50 : South African Income Distribution, 1970-1998
...at the other end of the scale, here's South Africa, with the
world's widest income distribution and at least
three distinct modes - a group with typical
developed-nation income, a middle group that
is like the lower ones in latin america, and
a third that is down in that $1-$2/day region.
You can find all of them in Soweto. Remember the
shack I showed you just before my grandfather's;
- # 51 : What Most of Soweto Looks Like
Then there's what the majority of Soweto looks like,
a cheap, planned 1960's housing project,
- # 52 : Soweto House called "Middle Class"
...and there's this place, in Soweto, that a vacationer
photographed and put on the web.
My point is that the division into developed
and undeveloped worlds is not binary, but a matter
of degree; every nation on earth has people that can,
and people that can't, afford luxuries above basic food, clothing
and shelter. The question is how many of each. These people are no
longer a tiny percentage of developing nations.
- # 53 : Income Distribution, China, India, US, others 1970
Let's look at how Communist China has handled
the development challenge, they're shown here
in red, just a single mode in 1970, like year 2000
Japan or Canada.
- # 54 : Income Distribution, China, India, US, others 1975
As you move forward, five years per slide, you
see China is getting richer..
- # 55 : Income Distribution, China, India, US, others 1980
...at a steady rate...
- # 56 : Income Distribution, China, India, US, others 1985
...on a log scale.
- # 57 : Income Distribution, China, India, US, others 1990
Meaning "exponentially richer with time".
- # 58 : Income Distribution, China, India, US, others 1995
And they are clearly doing it by moving away from
one income mode..
- # 59 : Income Distribution, China, India, US, others 2000
...towards a two-mode split with one group around $9000
per year, another down around $2500, and some rural
farmers still forming a slight left bulge under $1000, that's
less than $3/day. But consider the jump they've made
since 1990 to 2000, and that it's sped up if anything
in this decade, the 2008 figure probably has that
higher-income group approaching the US middle income
mode...and there are hundreds of millions of Chinese in that group.
So much for Communism.
- # 60 : Income Distribution with China Removed, 2000
Removing China so you can see India, in orange, better, you
find a tighter distribution, but basically the
same numbers: a large group around $2000, a
slight bulge forming for a group at $9000.
I guess those would be the ones doing our computer programming and
radiology, via Internet.
- # 61 : Global Income Distribution, 1970
OK, we're ready for the global picture, which
turns even China into a small red bump by comparison to
the grey mass of the whole globe, behind.
In 1970, we see a fair number below $400, or $1/day
in Year 2000 dollars, but the global mode is
$2.50 a day or so.
- # 62 : Global Income Distribution, 1975
As we move forward, we see rapid population growth without
much income change at first,
- # 63 : Global Income Distribution, 1980
But by 1980, and
- # 64 : Global Income Distribution, 1985
1985, we see the whole global income moving
to the right,
- # 65 : Global Income Distribution, 1990
dragged along by China and India,
- # 66 : Global Income Distribution, 1995
of course, who are a third of the world.
- # 67 : Global Income Distribution, 2000
Leaving us in 2000, eight years ago, with
rapid change afoot that has moved the global
mode up past $4 per day...by 2010
it will be past $5, and the number of people
down at that risky $1/day level in rapid
decline. By contrast, most of the lumpiness,
the shoulder and knee sticking out of the
global distribution, are on the right, separate
groups of much wealthier people. They're not
just the so-called developed world, but the
sum of all the people in the so-called developing
countries who are, by our own terminology, at
"working-class" and "middle-class" incomes.
- # 68 : The Hindu newspaper story on appliance sales
The soaring population that make more
than $10 per day are of course a
huge new market segment for cars like the
$2500 Tata just announced; and this
newspaper story in India is about the
sales of side-by-side frost-free refrigerator
and microwave sales climbing by 50% last year.
These people don't need the XO laptop; they
can buy the same $500 and up computers for their kids
that we do...factory-floor direct if they work there.
- # 69 : Shanghai Daily Story: China Tops Broadband Use
Or, rather, India does the software, it's China
that makes all our hardware. They must be
buying them at the factory outlets, as The
Shanghai Daily reported last Christmas Eve that China
now has more broadband users than any country on Earth,
at 122 million, one-third of them farmers.
- # 70 : What People Buy on $2/day - Atlantic Magazine
But what good is $5 per day, the new global mode?
At that level, aren't people
too poor to buy $100 appliances? I'm indebted to the
Atlantic magazine for printing this survey (search for "what the poor own" in the actual link, not from Atlantic, but the London School of Economics). Somebody
got curious what people on $2/day buy when they
have minimal food, clothing, and shelter needs
met. It turns out that 70% of the rural
$2/day people of the Ivory Coast have a radio.
It's 80% of urban poor in Peru, and 62% of them
have a TV as well. Radios, TVs and bicycles were the
most popular purchases. Bicycles can be crucial
to a job, of course, but people badly want
information and entertainment as well - and
education for their children more than anything.
- # 71 : Mexican Schoolgirls in Tambaque
A travelling blogger in Mexico was bemused to
see these schoolgirls in rural village of Tambaque emerging
from these small huts in neatly-pressed uniforms
and carefully-kept books. My grandmother would
not have been surprised in the least; my mother
spoke of her strictness about keeping your school clothes
unhurt and clean, when there was only one outfit.
By now, almost every poor person on Earth knows what
my grandmother knew: the way out of poverty passes
through the schoolhouse door.
- # 72 : Atlantic Article on Private Schools
Certainly these kids' moms do. Their
mothers earn an average of $2/day selling their
bodies in the red-light district of Calcutta;
and they all sacrifice some combination of
improved food, clothing, and shelter if necessary
to scrape up a dime a day per child for a
minimal primary education. The government schools
there are a recognized failure, with no-show teachers, so a
private-schooling industry is springing up, often
just one teacher in her house with her own child
for an assistant, making her own $2/day from the 20
- # 73 : XO Laptop again
Which brings us back to the XO laptop,
because the XO is expected to last an average of
five years - 1200 school days; if Moore's Law and mass
production do get it down to $100,
that's about nine cents per day. If nine cents per day
can provide an appliance that even without Internet can
provide dozens of textbooks, hundreds of reading books,
arithmetic and reading drills it could provide a lot
of leverage for teachers with few materials or training
of their own. I think One Laptop Per Child are making
a mistake by only working through governments: they should
be trying to get them into the local version of Wal-Mart.
- # 74 : Mass. Hi-Tech Journal Article on XO in Peru
Certainly, the very first mass deployment of the XO
laptop, 40,000 of the 250,000 already purchased by
Peru, are going to their one-room schools in rural
areas. And Peru spends only $317 per child per year,
in contrast to one or two thousand in much of Latin
America. Peru has recognized it as truly a product for those too poor
- # 75 : Literacy in Poorer Countries
Even with what the world has had so far,
it's been doing better than most people would
believe, like that steady upward trends in calories per
day. The numbers look the same for a dozen other countries
than these four: literacy rates up about 20% over 23 years.
For the worst countries, the relative jump is greater: in
India, 3 can read now where 2 could in 1980. But everywhere,
the trend is upward, wherever they started from.
There's a big market out there for information.
- # 76 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 1
When Negroponte announced the XO laptop idea in 2005,
the CEO of Intel was one of those who derided it, calling
it "a gadget".
It's not like Intel was oblivious of the
new markets - they had a whole Emerging
Markets Platform Group on the case.
- # 77 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 2
Their strategy document from that
same year, 2005, is on the web,
and they were all over the whole
economic divide problem.
- # 78 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 3
Not just for education, of course, but
all markets, commerce, hospitals,
- # 79 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 4
They understood they'd need new,
more affordable products and were
designing custom ones.
- # 80 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 5
Here's their "China Home Learning PC"
- # 81 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 6
Renting time is popular for the poor;
so there's a specific Cybercafe product.
- # 82 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 7
So here's a ruggedized kiosk-type
rentable for rural areas.
- # 83 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 8
Another for urban areas,
- # 84 : Intel EMPG strategy, excerpt 9
...and lastly, the education...tablet?
Perhaps much more expensive than $200
and hence not a "gadget".
- # 85 : Intel Classmate
I haven't been able to find out much
more of their 'education tablet', sales may
not have taken off. But about the
time the XO laptop prototypes were being
shown around, Intel suddenly emerged with
the Intel Classmate, a similar mini-laptop
also marketed aggressively to those emerging
markets, especially ones that were
thinking of buying the XO, which does not
use Intel brand chips.
- # 86 : Everex Cloudbook review from WIRED
Then there's my computer, from ASUS, again
a similar mini-laptop, and this just-announced Everex
Cloudbook, which will soon appear in Wal-Mart
for $400 as well. Neither mine nor the Cloudbook
is marketed so far for education here or anywhere else;
only the Intel Classmate.
- # 87 : Mini-Laptop Comparison
I put them all together for a comparison. I
boldfaced features that are the clear winner
in the category. The Cloudbook may do well
here, it's the fastest and with the most
hard drive. The XO is by far the cheapest,
longest battery, and that amazing reflective
screen. The Intel Classmate has the same
7" screen as mine and the Cloudbook, has
the same low RAM as the XO, but is faster, fast enough to
run Windows. And for new promotions in
emerging markets, Microsoft has conveniently
dropped the price of Windows plus Office to
$3 per Classmate, which really holds the price down.
It also holds down the chance that some other
software will become a standard...of course.
- # 88 : Chicago Tribune Story about XO trial
Still, the XO has received some pretty rave
reviews in the trial locations. This Chicago
Tribune story is about Arahuay, Peru, but there
are also good reports from Nigeria, Thailand,
Brazil and Uruguay. It isn't just the unique
screen; it's the only one that can be charged
by a hand-crank, or rotate the screen to
turn into a tablet.
- # 89 : XO Laptop's Rubberized Keyboard
It's the only one with a sealed, literally waterproof
keyboard. Even the toy-like look is deliberate, to
make it a kid magnet.
- # 90 : YouTube Page for video of kids repairing XO
Not to mention, most laptops are tricky to
repair. There's a video on YouTube of a
guy talking his 10-year-old, with his 8-year-old's
help, into replacing the motherboard
of an XO. Their only tool was a screwdriver.
So I think the XO has a very good shot despite
Intel's competitive approach.
- # 91 : CNN story about Windows on the XO
So does Microsoft, apparently; they're
now hedging their bets. They have 40
engineers trying to cram Windows into
a 256MB machine. The real question,
though, is whether an education-specific
appliance computer can change education;
computer education here has mostly been
about learning the computer itself for
use in business-type applications, not
using it as a learning tool for reading, arithmetic,
history. A friend of mine has a PhD in
education, was closely involved with Calgary
Board of Education's computer planning, and
he thinks so. But he also thinks it might
do the most good outside a school environment,
at home and lunch. Or perhaps where there is no
school environment we would recognize as such.
- # 92 : Web story about mobiles in Tanzania
But whether computers change education
or not, information appliances are coming
to the developing world for commercial
reasons. If the computer industry doesn't
make a successful product in their price
range, well, cell phones are already
in their price range and will soon ramp
up their capabilities to those of computers.
It's just a different bunch of companies
that'll get rich. Cell phone use is
exploding in the developing world, even for
the very poor. In Tanzania, fishermen
are buying or renting them to get prices,
weather, make direct sales before they
- # 93 : Web Story about text messaging for Indian Farmers
For farmers in India, it's cheap text-messaging
being used for weather warnings, disease
forecasts, pricing information. The low
penetration rates per thousand people make it
look like we have more cell phones, but it's
- # 94 : Chart for total mobile phones in the largest markets
This is straight from the CIA World Factbook, a
chart of the total number of mobile phones by country,
and then ranked. Even treating the whole EU as one,
in another year, China will
surpass the European Union to have the most
mobile phones of any market, and a year after that
will probably hit a half-billion of them. The
US is a distant third, soon to be fourth when
India catches up and then hits a quarter-billion.
- # 95 : Mobile phone market, middle-of-the-pack
Canada is down on a whole other page at 37th place, with
less than half as many as South Africa, for
all it's Soweto poverty; and far less than
Nigeria; heck, we're four places behind Bangladesh.
This is also likely to be our place in the list
of number of total computers on the Internet
in ten years or so, because most Internet
connectivity from now on will be wireless, probably
using much of the mobile phone infrastructure.
- # 96 : Engadget Story about India WiMax Announcement
I kept having to edit this presentation as news came in that
supported it. This story about India getting a WiMax wireless
Internet rollout - that's the same WiMax that Rogers offers here in
Calgary at 1.5 Mbits/second. Except India's is for 400 cities
totalling a quarter-billion people. The story is from last Sunday.
The collision I spoke of - between the
exponential drop in electronics prices and the exponential
increase in incomes of that middle three-fifths of the world,
is already occurring. And when all those billions of people hook up and start
communicating with no long-distance charges, they'll be
in touch. Maybe to say...
- # 97 : You've Got Mail Joke
...welcome to the global village.