$99 laptops

December 13th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Google began selling basic laptop computers to schools at a price of US$99 (NZ$120), meeting a price point that prominent MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte famously held out in 2005 as key to bringing computing power to the masses.

The internet giant will be offering the steep educational discount on Series 5 Chromebooks from Samsung through December 21. They typically retail for US$399.

Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child Foundation failed to meet his ambitious target, which critics said would be impossible to meet when he set it. His XO laptop currently sell for about US$200.

Still, he is widely credited with helping to launch the era of low-cost portable computing.

I think every kid when they turn five and go to school, should have a laptop or tablet or some sort of computer and Internet device. Of course you can only do that, if it is affordable and these initiatives make it easier to do so.

Google has details on their (US) initiative here.

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15 Responses to “$99 laptops”

  1. Harriet (4,532 comments) says:

    Aldi in Australia were last week selling their brand of ipad for $99 too.

    Australia also has 2nd hand computer shops that stock ex-goverment computers from about $150.00 onwards.They come with warrantys too. We bought a foster girl that we had staying with us one and had no problems with it.

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  2. peterwn (3,168 comments) says:

    Two necessary features of the green OLTC computers were:
    1. manual production of electricity as there would not be mains power available in many of the places of intended use.
    2. cascaded wifi tethering to make the best of ‘thin’ wifi facilities.

    These are features not needed in the usual Western context. At the time it was a seriousd challenge to the ‘Wintel’ concept.

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  3. Andrei (2,506 comments) says:

    I think every kid when they turn five and go to school, should have a laptop or tablet or some sort of computer and Internet device

    Why?

    Do you have any idea of what five year old kids are like?

    [DPF: Yes. I have nieces. You could argue they should get them around three - many are starting to use computers at that age.]

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  4. Harriet (4,532 comments) says:

    Andrei#

    Leave Dave alone he means well. Anyway Andrei, I have a couple of kids at a private primary school in QLD and that is the question I asked of the principle at an interview. He said it is not best for them to have one at that age as they will lean towards using it at the first opportunity rather than doing other things. However, they do have them at school for prep and yr 1 kids in 1 single classroom and are taught to use them once or twice a week. I think they get their own in about grade 4 and use them exstensivly from then on.

    I’m happy with that. Balance is the key with kids. Adults too.

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  5. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    None what so ever. Its just a rumour really.

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  6. hmmokrightitis (1,515 comments) says:

    How condescending were you going for Andrei? Just mild or hey look at me Im a fuckwit? Pick where you got to.

    I completely agree – EVERY kid should have one, and get to grips with how they work. My eldest, 12, can take one apart, replace hard drives, and this weekend managed to reboot a failed HD with an OS on a thumbdrive, replace the failed Win OS with an Ubuntu build, and restore it to full working order. At 12.

    Kids must be computer literate to survive, its not optional.

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  7. anonymouse (695 comments) says:

    Although its not actually selling them, They agreed to supply a fixed number to some crowdsourced donation site , where essentially teachers compete to appear the most needy and get funding from donors…..

    Update as of December 12, 5:30pm eastern time: As of this afternoon, every available discounted Chromebook has been requested. There was a finite number of units available, so the item has been removed from Lakeshore Learning’s catalog.

    Well that didn’t last long……

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  8. Kimble (4,383 comments) says:

    Providing every student with a laptop was an initiative in Australia. Went about as well as most knee-jerk, faddish election promises do.

    You can point to some people it really helped. And that’s the best you can say about it.

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  9. Kimble (4,383 comments) says:

    Well that didn’t last long……

    There is nothing noble about merely contributing to the arbitrage profits of others.

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  10. Andrei (2,506 comments) says:

    Give a five year old a lap top and about five minutes later it will have drink spilled into it, or have been dropped or lost or have jam in the keyboard.

    Anyway the whole thing is based upon the premise that all the little tykes in the class room are destined to be public service drones and not ditch diggers, window cleaners or cosmetic counter dolly birds

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  11. RightNow (6,676 comments) says:

    Aren’t Chromebooks more a thin client than a computer? As I understand it all the applications reside in the cloud, meaning no internet connection, no functionality.

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  12. Tautaioleua (289 comments) says:

    I’m with Andrei. At age five the learning trends are at an infancy. You give em handheld devices and it’s likely that they will grow to depend on them sooner than ever before.

    Students need a variety of learning options. Too much of a good thing, too soon. It could potentially ruin them.

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  13. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    DPF – you’re away off target.

    Every kid should go to school with lunch would be a better target. Hungry kids cant eat laptops………….

    Any teacher will tell you that the best way to learn is to do and to see and to hear – all at the same time – the more senses used the better. Screens are known as dumb learning devices.

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  14. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Of course you can only do that, if it is affordable and these initiatives make it easier to do so.

    Barry beat me to it. Parents who don’t prioritise feeding their kids aren’t likely to value providing them with laptops/tablets. Not when there are cigarettes, booze and weed to be purchased, and lotto tickets to dream about.

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  15. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    Teaching is going out the window. We are getting closer and closer to the day when the only thing a Teacher will do is teach a student how to use a keyboard.
    The is no learning, you will know everything, just like a teen does now. Actually I am dealing with the adult teens of yesteryear, they want it now and fuck everyone else. I want, I want, I want.
    Never do you hear “I would like”

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