While there has been tons of coverage of the $100 laptop for rural Asian villages sponsored by famous Nicholas Negroponte, Intel is rolling out an alternative to that $100 PC that just might make more sense.
Let me quote from the Intel release: “Designed as a result of defining locally relevant computing solutions based on Intel technology, the Intel-powered “Community PC” platform is equipped to operate in a community setting while accommodating the varying environmental conditions prevalent in the country.”
Here’s more from Intel: “The new Intel-powered Community PC brings technology access to remote communities where weather and unreliable power compromise typical PCs. Many of these computers are expected to be used in Internet “kiosk” centers in villages across India. The kiosks, run by local entrepreneurs, provide access to online services such as e-Government forms, education and medical advice. The Community PC extends the benefits of personal computing to those who lack the access and the means to use technology.”
Intel did a great deal of ethnographic work in rural India and come up with a business model that differs widely from the Negroponte-backed $100 laptop. It expects local entrepreneurs to own and operate these internet kiosks.
Intel’s approach is but one of several initiatives to get inexpensive computers and web-access into rural villages to link people to the web, markets, health and education. HP is working on a big project. And then, of course, there is the $100 laptop.
It is time for a serious discussion on which approach is best. C.K. Prahalad, what do you think? Others?
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