For $150, Third-World Laptop Stirs Big Debate

From the New York Times:

When computer industry executives heard about a plan to build a $100 laptop for the developing world’s children, they generally ridiculed the idea. How could you build such a computer, they asked, when screens alone cost about $100?

Mary Lou Jepsen, the chief technologist for the project, likes to refer to the insight that transformed the machine from utopian dream to working prototype as “a really wacky idea.”

Ms. Jepsen, a former Intel chip designer, found a way to modify conventional laptop displays, cutting the screen’s manufacturing cost to $40 while reducing its power consumption by more than 80 percent. As a bonus, the display is clearly visible in sunlight.

That advance and others have allowed the nonprofit project, One Laptop Per Child, to win over many skeptics over the last two and a half years.

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