Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ubislate aka Aakash aka sub-100-dollar-computer

I've had very neutral thoughts on the Ubislate. Was this good or bad? Are we taking the world one generation back by championing a non-cutting-edge processing machine? Yes, but does that matter more than ensuring that a billion more people get computing in the first place? Absolutely not. A smart compromise that could enable a wider range of people taste computing is what I believe this project is- to assume and glorify it as anything else would be pretty presumptuous at this point. That alone is a worthy goal to pursue :).

I was prompted by this great post on the wsj:

The following extracts are interesting:

1. Why technology being cutting-edge does not ensure that it is the best fit. Its right-fit relevance and sense of ownership that actually matter.
" Tuli also notes an anecdote about OLPC deployment in Cambodia, where the laptop’s reliance on a Wi-Fi mesh network meant that most remote villages effectively had no means of connectivity. “When they checked on those villages a month later, they found that elders were getting kids to hand-crank the batteries so that the laptops could be used as a light source. That was the killer app for the OLPC: Light.”
2. How the pace of growth in technology has and will continue to catch us unawares ;-)
The $50 barrier seems to have been the big milestone, but it’s not the only one. “The fact is, back in 1984, when I bought my first Mac computer, with a black and white screen and 5 megabytes of memory, it cost $5000 — and just the cable to connect it to a printer cost $50,” says Tuli. “If someone asked me back then if I thought a full-color computer with multiple gigs of memory could be sold for the price of a cable, I’d have said ‘No way. Never. That’s ludicrous.’”

 Another blow to the digital divide! Three cheers to it, whichever way this ends!