In 2004, 4.1 percent of Sri Lankan households had computers. As the data comes in from our six-country study, we will post the numbers for those countries as well.
Looks like this will change the nature of the debate. The report states that Intel and Microsoft are not happy with Negoponte’s baby.
Mary Lou Jepsen, the chief technologist for the project, likes to refer to the insight that transformed the machine from utopian dream to working prototype as “a really wacky idea.”
Ms. Jepsen, a former Intel chip designer, found a way to modify conventional laptop displays, cutting the screen’s manufacturing cost to $40 while reducing its power consumption by more than 80 percent. As a bonus, the display is clearly visible in sunlight.
That advance and others have allowed the nonprofit project, One Laptop Per Child, to win over many skeptics over the last two and a half years. Five countries — Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria and Thailand — have made tentative commitments to put the computers into the hands of millions of students, with production in Taiwan expected to begin by mid-2007.
The laptop does not come with a Microsoft Windows operating system or even a hard drive, and the screen is small. And the cost is now closer to $150 than $100. But the price tag, even compared with low-end $500 laptops now widely available, transforms the economic equation for developing countries.