Cargotecture or Laptop *Updated*


There’s lots of press floating about (including this piece with pictures over on C|Net) announcing the recent unveiling of the “$100 Laptop” prototype. To be sure, I like the idea of giving kids low-cost computers that connect them to a world of information. Only there seem to be issues that have not been particularly well-resolved; problems that could sink the whole program and potentially sour support for similar future endeavors.

Furthermore when I read that this $100 laptop may wind up being $115, and when I read that “quantities of at least 1 million as an initial order” are required of participating governments, I start to wonder about priorities. I wonder because the feeling I get is that this price increase – $15/laptop – is treated rather nonchalantly (kind of like that “disconnect” solution to the secondary market problem which Negroponte mentions in the article). Well, I think $15/unit is a big deal. A $15,000,000 deal.

Which brings me to something I saw recently over on the Inhabitat site: the relatively low-profile work of a team called HyBrid. Their project, Cargotecture, seems to have miniscule support compared to that laptop. This once again raises the issue of priority. Because I can’t help but wonder how many kids could have a decent roof over their heads for just that $15/laptop price difference.

{*Wired has somehow managed to break through the crowd to reach Negroponte and get a fairly decent interview with their founder(!) which you can read here. Note that the minimum order per country has gone from 1 million units to “$1 million orders”. Think I’ll just wait til some reliably solid facts are reported.}