The Disposable Laptop

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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The Disposable Laptop

If you think the disposable computer is a silly concept, you better not read this article from the New York Times about how the former CTO of the one laptop per child (OLPC) initiative is looking to make a -- get this -- $75 computer. The OLPC goal was a $100 computer but it ended up costing $200 instead.

Certainly, ideas like this have to keep Michael Dell up at night.

Pixel Qi is the company behind this idea and Mary Lou Jepsen s the former OLPC CTO. I remember paying about $15 for a disposable camera on a vacation a few years back... I wonder how much a disposable computer would be worth to me.

Sadly, the disposable computer idea is not very green -- but that doesn't mean it won't happen. Last I checked, Hummer still sells cars. Sure not as many as five years ago but they still sell.

A natural place where these cheap computers could come in handy is at airports since the way things are going with the new battery rules, it could be a matter of time before we can even bring a laptop with us through security. I already feel like a criminal for carrying a laptop in my bag.

Is it a stretch to think we can just buy new laptops after we get to our destinations and just plug a memory stick into them for personalization purposes? In fact with a fast enough internet connection we may not even need any personalization on memory sticks since everything could be SaaS.

This idea may seem silly today but I am sure it will have legs at an airport near you in 2010.

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