Many of you have probably heard of the One Laptop Per Child [http://laptopl.org] Program or seen their recent commercials for their GiveOneGetOne program on mainstream TV. Well I bit the bullet and decided to get one of these.
Costing $425 (which covers the cost of 2 laptops and shipping to myself), I think its going to work out pretty well. The machine is fairly modest, having only a 433 Mhz CPU, 256 MB of ram, and 1GB of flash rom (for a hard drive). What make this laptop so interesting is the rest of the design. It’s lcd screen was designed specifically for this laptop to be extremely friendly in the low power realm, its case is designed to seal well enough that children walking to and from school need not fear rainstorms and dust, and the battery can charge off of anywhere from 11 to 18 Volts. Add to this that it has built in wifi and an expansion SD memory card slot, and you have a pretty mobile friendly laptop.
One of the first things I’ll do when I get this is find some type of alternative charging source for it. The children that receive these will get some sort of hand crank which should give 10 minutes of use to every 1 minute of charging, but the purchasers don’t get this feature. I’ve already looked at several inexpensive solar cells but have yet to decide on one yet. Until then I’ll just be working on the software in QEMU and seeing what I can do!