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Can Intel's $400 Edu-Wise best the OLPC?

Marc Perton

We almost feel sorry for Nicholas Negroponte. No sooner does he leave his cushy post at the MIT Media Lab to head the OLPC project on a full-time basis than he faces war drums from all sides. First Bill Gates slapped him down, declaring with man-of-the-year certainty that the developing world needs a good smartphone more than a crank-up laptop. Now, Microsoft's sometime tag-team partner Intel has hit Negroponte from the other side, declaring that the company has plans for a $400 laptop that will make Negroponte's box look like, well, a windup toy. Intel CEO Paul Otellini chose Brazil to announce the Edu-Wise, which will be a full-fledged, Windows-powered mini-PC. While the prototype Edu-Wise box Otellini showed off in São Paulo looked pretty good, we suspect that a $400 price tag will put it out of the price range of most developing world customers, unless it's heavily subsidized. We also think there's a good chance that the $400 price won't even stick; after all, we seem to recall a recent Microsoft/Intel project for a small, full-Windows computer that was initially meant to hit the market at about $500. Last time we checked, those boxes were going for closer to a grand. Apply the same math to this, and we don't see it coming in for any less than $750 -- not exactly pocket change for most developing world students.

[Thanks, Gustavo]

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