A One Laptop Per Child update from Nicholas Negroponte

This post is part of a series from the TED 2009 conference held in Long Beach, California from February 4-8th. You can read other posts in the series here, and the TED site will release video from the talk in the coming weeks or months. Because I’m putting these posts together very quickly, I will get things wrong, will misspell names and bungle details. Please feel free to use the comments thread on this post to offer corrections. You may also want to follow the conference via Twitter or through other blogs tagged as on Technorati.

Nicholas Negroponte takes the TED stage for the first time in three years. He tells us that a few years ago, everyone thought his idea of a low-cost laptop was silly. He points to the Netbook – lightweight, highly simplified laptops – and tells us this market is now up to 50% of the world’s laptop market. “They didn’t copy the right things from us, but they exist.”

But Netbooks can’t do everything – he throws laptops on stage and encourages us to try that with our netbooks. Or try using them underwater. Or in a dusty African village – “they won’t work.”

“OLPC is a nonprofit. That means we can have partners the normal market cannot have.” Those partners include the kids and their parents. With half a million machines in use, NN is seeing children teaching their parents both to use the computers and to read and write. Teachers see discipline problems go down – their main complaint is that they get too much email from students.

“Commercial markets will go to no end to stop you. It’s sort of a tragedy,” Negroponte tells us. So the future of One Laptop Per Child is to go “from uppercase to lower case”, to “build something that everyone copies.”

“We had to build the first laptop because no one else would do it.” But now, OLPC will release and open source hardware design and invite others to copy it. He predicts that within 3 years, we’ll see 5 to 6 million machines a month, built by companies around the world.

See you in three years, Nicholas.

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31 Responses to A One Laptop Per Child update from Nicholas Negroponte

  1. Pingback: Negroponte on the New (lowercase): olpc | White African

  2. I wonder what Negroponte really means when he says “open source hardware”? From Chuck Kane’s comments it sure sounds like “reference design” not truly Open Source.

  3. Pingback: Negroponte on Netbooks | Mobility Site

  4. Pingback: L’elogio della clonazione (dell’OLPC) - Vittorio Pasteris

  5. Steve says:

    Wayan is probably right. I keep wondering when the OLPC clones, like the iPhone clones, will arrive. They “look” like an OLPC, or an iPhone, but they are nothing of the sort. (I’m also waiting for the port of Sugar to the iPhone and the Android …)

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  19. Pingback: » OLPC goes open source

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  22. Pingback: PlusMobile.net » Negroponte on Netbooks

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  24. Terry says:

    Why does this fraudster still get publicity? Everything he has does has resulted in failure.

  25. Pingback: 山寨OLPC即将遍地开花? | 半亩塘闲话

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  27. Pingback: 草莓 : memediagroup (weekly)

  28. Pingback: Links/Articles Tagged Between February 19th and February 21st, 2009 « Blog Archive « Present Tensed

  29. Pingback: Negroponte Open Sources OLPC Hardware Design, Invites Copy-Cats

  30. Pingback: OLPC Learning Club - DC The Great 4PC Laptop Bake Off 2009

  31. 北京整形 says:

    india outsourcing telephony globalization

    Charming little essay about a young American who seeks work at an Indian call center. Interesting reflections on the process of cultural neutralization that’s part of the job training

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