Monday, June 05, 2006

A $50 PC?

The race is on to build a PC for the developing world:

These days lots of companies are trying to serve that same billion. Intel's biggest rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (
AMD ), is working on various possibilities, including a PC in India that sells for about $200. Taiwan's VIA Technologies Inc., the world's No. 3 designer of microprocessors, has launched a business group focusing on low-cost computers for emerging markets. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT ) in late May introduced a low-cost solution. And Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is leading a group called One Laptop Per Child, which aims to produce a machine for $140 or so by yearend, and as little as $50 by 2010. "I think of digital access for kids as a human right," Negroponte said in an e-mail interview.

But as they target emerging markets, the world's info-tech powers are grappling with a host of difficult issues. How do you design a PC that's affordable to almost anyone? What traditional features do you ditch to do that? Will users in developing countries be satisfied with these computers, or will they resent the idea of getting dumbed-down machines? Do they want global brands, or are they happy to accept no-name alternatives?

Read the rest of the
Business Week article here.

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