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What we can learn from the OLPC project

OLPC is ugly and pointless, right? Well, no...

Depending on whom you listen to, the One Laptop Per Child project has either produced the world's greatest monstrosity or the world's most innovative laptop (for the developing world, anyway). But as Geek.com notes, there is plenty to learn from OLPC, whether one likes it or not.

Where OLPC becomes really interesting for me, however, is what it may do to the machines that I use on a daily basis. I'm unlikely to crank up power for my machine anytime soon (though I wouldn't mind having a laptop with me when I go backpacking in the Wind River Mountains each year). But that's not the point. OLPC is paving the way to all sorts of new thinking in computer design.

One area is in simplicity:

People don't need a lot of power. The average user only needs a notebook for surfing the Internet, e-mailing, storing/transporting files, and viewing the occasional presentation. There is a place for high power notebooks, but most people just want something simple to take to the coffee shop or on a business trip. This means that considerable costs can be cut by using components that are less than cutting edge and by keeping memory and storage at relatively low levels. A notebook this affordable could also act as a secondary device for buyers that have a larger notebook or that use a small portable device (like a Nokia N800 or HTC Advantage).

Take a look at the article to learn more. I may never buy an OLPC. But I'm hopeful that OLPC will have a positive effect on those that I do.

Via Slashdot.