A real, live $100 laptop

A few years ago, the so-called $100 laptop was the buzz of technology and development community: some favorable, others not. The idea was that a small laptop could be deployed to help the world’s children learn. I was (and am) one of the doubters, but the machine — as developed — is a handy bit of equipment and I bought one used off a co-worker. (There was a promotion three years ago, where people in the economic West could sponsor one and receive another.) The future of the XO, as the device has become known, is uncertain. It certainly costs more than $100 now.

Its greater legacy might be the introduction of the netbook format of small laptop computers. I now own three, including the XO, and my newest one — an Asus EEE PC 1005PE with the newest version of Ubuntu Linux — could easily become my lone machine, should I ever have to choose.

Now, a netbook with a $100 pricetag has been seen in the wild. There was a note of its coming (Engadget) last month, and Hubby saw one — at the CVS, a pharmacy and discount goods chain — today.  No word of it at their website. But there must have been a buzz and demand; when I went by the same store two hours later, it was sold out.

But the question is “is it worth it?”

  1. I’d love to know your thoughts, especially if you’re looking to buy a computer soon.
  2. I’ll see if I can find the specs for this machine, and see if anyone has bought it and tested it.

4 Replies to “A real, live $100 laptop”

  1. I think I’ve skipped this generation of computers. Well, actually, I’ve skipped two: I have a desktop, and a smartphone. My HTC Evo does everything I need it to do except play World of Warcraft. I’d like to have a gaming laptop someday, but it has to meet my weight requirements first, and so far, that machine doesn’t exist.

    However, it’s probably useful to someone like my father, who has an EEE PC.

  2. It occurs to me that a $100 laptop could be an interesting competitor in the e-reader market — the most recent version of the XO that I saw (in a video) was designed to be used as an e-reader.

  3. I have a desktop (4 years old, still doing fine) in my basement home office (where I work full time); and a laptop (less than 1 year old) for working and surfing upstairs at night or for taking away from the home office that is pretty spiffy but a lot bigger than a netbook.

    When I got the laptop I briefly considered a netbook but decided it would not be robust enough. It’s very likely that the laptop will succeed the desktop if the desktop ever dies.

    I’d consider the 100-buck laptop if it turned out to be a good e-reader with a few bonus features. But I think I’d prefer a straight e-reader. But not an iPad — I don’t want Mr. Jobs deciding what I can and cannot read, thank you. And I’m not in any hurry for an e-reader yet, anyway.

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