At the Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital Conference in Carlsbad, Calif., Nicholas Negroponte showed off the latest prototypes of the fabled $100 PC for developing nations. It's no longer a $100 PC, however.
The ruggedized, 2-pound Linux desktop (Fedora) system with mesh networking will sell for about $130 to $140 (sans shipping) to governments starting in April 2007. As he has previously stated, Negroponte expects to reach the $100 price point by the end of 2008. The colorful system can turn into a tablet, and Negroponte said it "will run like a bat out of hell."
Pricing depends on the amount of RAM, but the key is the display, he added. "It has to be sunlight-readable. That won't be done until August/September." Then there will be a beauty contest among three systems and the machine will go into manufacturing for shipping, he said. Currently, seven countries are evaluating the system. The most enthusiastic are Nigeria, Brazil, Thailand and Argentina. In addition, China, India and Egypt have shown interest, as well as Russia, Mexico and Indonesia. Negroponte said that manufacturing has to reach 5 to 6 million to get scale pricing.