OLPC vs. Intel: The bitter battle for bringing computing to the bottom of pyramid
10 years from now, when they will be writing about how the poor of the world took up to computing, besides listing out who won and who lost, they will also write about how technology giants such as Microsoft and Intel left no stone unturned in making sure governments in developing nations gave short shrift to Nicholas Negroponte’s ambitious $100 one Laptop per child project.
The technology giants have huge PR machines working overtime to ensure that their brands are not consigned to irrelevancy (not in Intel’s case, for time being). They have contacts in almost all government arms in the third world countries. Hell, ministers vie with one another to be clicked with Bill Gates – Mr. Gates has become for Microsoft what the British Monarchy is for Britain – a traveling brand circus.
Officials of the OLPC project and others are persuading governments to ignore the OLPC and go in for their own solutions.
First Microsoft came up with the $3 Windows Lite package and now Intel has launched its own more expensive competitor to the OLPC, called the Classmate.
While the XO- 1 from OLPC is priced at $175, the Classmate is priced at $285.
It would help the OLPC's cause if charity organizations come forward to sponsor the XO-1, but it would appear that Bill Gates has the biggest charity organization going on, no points for guessing where the Bill Gates Foundation is going to put its money.
The features for XO-1 and Classmate (via The Guardian)
Operating system: Linux
Memory: 256MB RAM
Media: 1GB flash, USB and SD slots, built-in video camera
Processor: 435MHz AMD Geode
Screen: 7.5" low-power display
Wireless: 802.11b/g/s Wi-Fi, mesh networking
Today's price: $175
Operating system: Linux or Windows XP Embedded
Memory: 256MB RAM
Media: 2GB flash, built-in microphone
Processor: 900MHz Intel Celeron M
Screen: 7" display
Wireless: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
Today's price: $285