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Intel Aims 'One Tablet Per Child' Program at Developing Countries

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the take-two-of-these-call-in-the-morning dept.

Education 93

retroworks writes "Digitimes Reports that 'Intel is set to push a tablet PC product codenamed StudyBook to target emerging markets. ... The StudyBook tablet PC will feature a 10-inch panel with Intel's Medfield platform and adopt dual-operating systems and will target the emerging markets such as China and Brazil. .. The StudyBook tablet PC will be released in the second half of 2012. ... Intel also hopes to push the product into regular retail channels priced below US$299.' Will this be another 'OLPC' disappointment, or is it starting to look very tough for the traditional school book industry?"

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Tough? The book industry will love this! (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#39612949)

They will still be able to charge stupidly high prices, because you HAVE to get it, but they will eliminate shipping and printing costs. They just need to get the schools on board to give them lists of students, and they sue anyone who didn't buy it via approved channels.

Re:Tough? The book industry will love this! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | about 2 years ago | (#39613207)

Oh, is Sony in on this too?

Re:Tough? The book industry will love this! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#39613453)

Oh, is Sony in on this too?

No, no, no!
It's one tablet per child, not one poison pill per child.

Not China - they won't buy into Intel's offering (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#39615423)

Intel has the right to dream big

But that dream won't happen in China

China will go for the ARM/Android route instead of the Atom/Win8 route offer by Intel

Re:Tough? The book industry will love this! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39613559)

The textbook guys are really more of a political problem than a technical one. There isn't any particular connection between paper printing and buying from a vendor who retains the copyright and charges accordingly, if one were to purchase a text outright and shop around for people willing to print and bind it, the per unit bids would likely be considerably lower. As you note, there also isn't any magic connection between digital distribution and low prices. If anything, nuking the used and import markets will make the situation worse(though digital distribution does have low fixed costs, which makes small-scale and iteratively developed stuff possible IFF that is supported...)

Re:Tough? The book industry will love this! (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#39614015)

You hit it there... With cheap iterations there can be no used book market as well. "Oh, sorry... That was last semesters edition..." New test and questions every year FTW! (Their win, not ours)

First it was one laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612955)

now its one tablet. Wait, do they both? Or do the kids get to pick which one they want more?

Re:First it was one laptop (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39613105)

now its one tablet. Wait, do they both? Or do the kids get to pick which one they want more?

It's just one $New_Shiny per child^Hpoor-kid-that-we-can-use-to-extort-money-from-a-government.

That's the generically correct form for how this will play out. $New_Shiny can be a smartphone, tablet, laptop or Furby. Whatever some large company is trying to stuff down the third world consumption channel.

As usual, it has little to do with children, education, improving mankind or anything else other than PR and profit. Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:First it was one laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39617565)

I believe you are talking out of your ass.
I live in Uruguay, and we have an OLPC program here.
Regarding teaching, I don't know or care about the benefits.
Socially, they are great. Right now, there is next to none digital breach. Every home has a computer.
Because every home has a computer, the state telco launched a free internet program, where you pay the modem, and get a free 1Gb per month of traffic.
People who live in rural areas and can't afford internet, can access the internet from the local school.

Those changes alone are well worth the hundred (or more) million dollares invested.

About books, there are talks with writers to buy the books in bulk, or even to pay to have them written, which would make a lot more sense. That would get rid of textbook price issues altogether, but of course, developed countries can't do that because it would hurt the industry!! Blasphemy!

Re:First it was one laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619311)

Money, money money.....

Govt's have to spend more and more and increase their budget ....

The device might be good, but there are much more things to consider:

1- Electricity. Is not everywhere.
2- As an educational tool, it's just that....a tool...but it needs lots of surrounding elements to be useful, as an educational system, e-books, teachers, environment, etc...
3- Cost. Govts shouldn't pay for these things...this things must be funded by donations from companies, and those companies must have some tax benefits with anything related to health and education.

my 0.1 (inflation...)

Re:First it was one laptop (1)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#39615937)

...and the money to buy these tablets will be diverted from what charity/need? Clean Water? Housing? Education? Medicine?

Wrong problem (4, Insightful)

KalvinB (205500) | about 2 years ago | (#39612973)

The textbook companies love digital because they can control it and prevent resale. I bought a copy of the textbook my classroom uses for all of about $8 off Amazon. It's something like $100 new. If it were digital only, you can't buy used.

If you want to usurp the textbook companies, you need to start providing cheap, community generated alternatives. Plenty of teachers already ignore the textbooks for the most part. There's no reason Intel and other companies couldn't provide free digital content for various topics that individual schools can then assemble to fit their curriculum.

I'm currently working Khan Academy where appropriate into my classroom so students are more motivated to use it on their own time. But ultimately, I'd like to replace every chapter in the book with free alternative resources that teachers can use. "Infinite Math" is a really slick program that doesn't cost much that can generate problems for many levels of math which takes care of in class practice, homework and tests.

Re:Wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613037)

Free, cheap, or expensive, you usually have to get it approved by the powers-that-be for your school. Which will usually bring the textbook companies into the picture...

Re:Wrong problem (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39613075)

The textbook companies love digital because they can control it and prevent resale.

Yeah. As if there aren't enough problems with funding for our schools as-is, now students can't even be taught basic skills without forking money over to some corporation and getting nothing but a 'license' in return. If this is the future, I think we should whip a shitty and get the hell out of here before the locals try and eat our brains or... something...

ok for math, not for history (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613107)

While you can write you own math manual, the contents and exact wording of history manuals is controversial in many countries (maybe not the US), and you just can't use another manual than the one that gained a hard-earned consensus among communities / ethnies of your country.

Re:ok for math, not for history (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#39616387)

Wording and subjects covered in history are subjects of controversy in America too.

Same with science. There's even controversy about MATH if you can believe that.

Re:Wrong problem (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39613297)

And if they were to price it at $5-$10 per student per year, not being able to resell it would be just fine.

I'd still have a problem. (1)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#39613861)

But I admit that I am radical that way.

If I buy something I want the LEGAL ability to sell that same item to someone else.

And I want them to have the LEGAL ability to sell that item to someone else. And so on and so on.

I'd worry that what sells for $10 today (no resale allowed!) will sell for $15 tomorrow (no resale allowed). And then $25. $50. $100. But with the same "no resale allowed" limit.

Re:I'd still have a problem. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39614107)

Ok, what if they give you "legal ability" to sell it, but update it every year and the update is still only $5-$10? You'll have the legal ability to sell something that is now nearly worthless.

The problem is that your model is easily made obsolete, and doesn't address the very real and significant costs of producing the content. If you want quality textbooks, or books, movies, music, games, etc. the people producing them need to have a reasonable expectation (but not a guarantee) to make a profit from that work. When selling digital copies that don't wear out, and can be trivially reproduced, the model used for physical goods (that have high production/copying costs, and wear out) breaks down. A "used" physical item has wear and is worth less than a new item. A used digital work is indistinguishable from a new one. Therefore, if resale is allowed, the producer/publisher must make all money from the first wave of sales, with few repeat sales. For items such as books, textbooks, etc, there is not a significant reason for the original purchaser to keep it if they can sell it for ~ the same price they paid for it.

So, while there may be dramatic decreases in production and distribution costs with digital goods, they're selling into a completely different market. Either they charge a high price to the first purchaser knowing that one sale will be resold numerous times thus decreasing total sales, or they sell at a lower price, but prevent resale. You're not going to get both and still get high quality content.

Before someone brings up FOSS as a counter example, yes, it is a counter example. And it's been a challenge for OSS companies to figure out how to make money. Much of the OSS development is paid for by for profit companies, so it isn't necessarily a great counter example, but it is another economic model that can work. And, OSS frequently has a steeper learning curve and/or mediocre user interface, so despite being stable, it's frequently not of comparable quality to commercial software. And, yes, there are exceptions, such as Audacity.

Re:Wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613365)

$8 bucks for an e-book version of a $100 book and you're bitching about it? In an ideal world, everything would be free but sorry, even publishers need to make a few bucks. Those books just don't magically build themselves together since it takes an army of people getting paid to put these textbooks together.

For the price of two coffee's at Starbucks, I'll gladly pay that money if I could get textbooks that cheap and not deal with reselling them. $100 is a different story.

I think your rant is less about having to pay anything at all than it is more about just sticking it to the "man" for the sake of it.

Re:Wrong problem (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#39613439)

$8 bucks for an e-book version of a $100 book and you're bitching about it?

Where did GP say the $8 was for an ebook?
He said it was for a second-hand textbook bought via Amazon. Hint: Amazon does not sell second-hand ebooks. Now if an ebook (which can't be loaned or resold, and with other DRM limitations) were only to cost quarter or less the price of the print equivalent (easily loaned, can be resold, no DRM), there would be much less belly-aching about things. As it is, publishers and sales channels seem to think they can fleece buyers for about as much for crippled ebooks as for traditional print books.

Re:Wrong problem (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about 2 years ago | (#39614215)

Sigh. I suppose you didn't do well on your reading comprehension SATs--thanks for bringing the average down. Things you got wrong:

$8 bucks for an e-book version of a $100 book...

Nope, not an e-book version, it was "use[d]" and "If it were digital only, you can't buy used."

...and you're bitching about it?

Again, no. The GP never complained about the $8 price. They never really complained about anything, actually. They sort of implied $100 for a textbook is too much but rather than complaining they advocated community-grown free alternatives.

I think your rant...

Do you even know what a rant is? "rant (verb): 1. to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave." Your post was a rant, the GP's was not.

... is less about having to pay anything at all than it is more about just sticking it to the "man" for the sake of it.

Talk about a misapplication of previous experience. The GP said nothing about sticking it to the "man" in any way. Their reason for wanting free alternatives was left vague ("If you want to usurp the textbook companies..."), but is most likely just a cost savings measure.

Re:Wrong problem (1)

Technician (215283) | about 2 years ago | (#39616449)

Fortunately it can be replaced. For example, instead of buying a math textbook on economics, you can simply use Khan Academy for free instead. When momopoly printing creates a vacuum, something with disruptive propertys will move in. See the series on The Cupcake Factory for more info on this.

http://www.khanacademy.org/ [khanacademy.org]
http://www.khanacademy.org/finance-economics/current-economics/v/economics-of-a-cupcake-factory [khanacademy.org]

As affordable alternatives move into the market and become better, the entrenched market will feel the pain. The Pay TV market is having issues with this now as Netflix and other online streaming content is disrupting the pay tv market.
http://www.technolog.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/more-us-are-cutting-cord-pay-tv-667429 [msn.com]

Why windows, why tablets, why intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612979)

How about funding lessons on computer's role in education, not bringing out a system with flaws from the ground up?

Why just computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612995)

How about funding lessons on computer's role in education, not bringing out a system with flaws from the ground up?

I shrugged at this story.

Wouldn't it be great if the pharmaceutical companies tried something like this?

Intel hopes 4 "Seize the youth/Seize the future" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613017)

So Linux can have even 1/2 a chance to have more than what? 1.2% of the marketshare for PC's desktops, &/or Servers MAYBE around 60++% or so. Combined from home end users desktops up through departmental LAN servers right on up into "enterprise class/mission critical" servers for WANS though? Windows, rules.

Linux does ok in the server market, since it's "zero cost" which keeps project costs down some (and certainly smartphone handsets, even though Android's being "torn up" on security daily in its variation of Linux (yes, it's a Linux folks since it uses a Linux kernel/core (unless someone can prove it's using iOS or Windows Mobile etc.)).

Will it work? Doubt it.

History's already repeatedly shown that attempt's failed time & again for the Penguins & their puny easily seen through "schemes" for marketing b.s. (which they're clearly NOT good at judging by desktop marketshare of OS alone) - especially ones thinly disguised as "for the children", lol, which this OLPC clearly is that much.

Re:Intel hopes 4 "Seize the youth/Seize the future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613039)

Quick penguins: Mod him down! He spoke badly of "teh Linux"!

Re:Intel hopes 4 "Seize the youth/Seize the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613057)

Wrong: Intel actually made a good choice & used Windows 7!

Re:Intel hopes 4 "Seize the youth/Seize the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39615317)

So Windows can even have 1/2 a chance of more than what? 0.0% of the market share for mobile devices, &/or appliances, &/or HPC, &/or network infrastructure MAYBE around 0.1++% or so. Combined from home end users up through the big iron used by research community right on up to "enterprise class/mission critical" switches and routers for WANS and the Internet backbone though? Linux, rules.

Windows does ok in the low end throw away junk PC market, since it is "zero cost" because the price is hidden in the bundle price of the machine and subsidized by the shovel-ware included by the OEM (and certainly the low end server market where undocumented proprietary protocols keep vendor lock in motion and where "consultants" prefer Windows because they know they will be back every year to keep it going).

Will it work? Doubt it.

Same old story.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613019)

Intel is looking to drum up interest in a new platform and so they are trotting this out.

The pricepoint is way too high at $299 for developing countries or even developing US states.

Fail. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39613029)

Because "One Computer Per Child" worked so well, we're going to follow up on it with another, similar initiative? I've got a better idea: How about we build some sewers, electricity, get them some running water, and then setup some better agricultural facilities (read: big farms!), and when that's done, some factories and office buildings for them to work in? Then, with the money they make, they can not only purchase things like tablet pcs, but clothes, food, education, and health care.

Sigh. Every one of these initiatives fail because people assume access to technology will make people more educated, and education leads to a better life. The problem is, that's not true. What leads to a better life is taking care of basic survival needs sufficiently to allow the local population time to pursue those things. Our industrial civilization evolved away from an aquarian civilization because of advancements in certain key technologies. Tablets were not one of those technologies.

Re:Fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613071)

What we need is One Flying Car Per Child.

Re:Fail. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#39613077)

there's several ways how this is not like olpc at all. first off, this doesn't depend on someone going begging for subsidy money all over the world. there's no attached charity aspect.

it's just a product. thee hundred bucks for a netbook without a keyboard. it's not such a silly idea and unlike olpc not dead in the water in regards of sw either(actually.. I'm assuming the dual os means windows + android).

Re:Fail. (4, Insightful)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#39613117)

It's still a silly idea. I live in Mexico, and here still a lot of children can't go to school for the simple reason that they have to help their family with staying alive. How is a tablet going to fix that? I often read "with a tablet they can learn about better farming methods, etc.". If that's the case, why can't they learn such things now? To me projects like this sound too much like "Every major village needs a McDonalds so people can have access to healty fast food". Right!

Re:Fail. (1)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#39615195)

To me projects like this sound too much like "Every major village needs a McDonalds so people can have access to healty fast food". Right!

yes, that's right! every macdonalds in every country is tasked with making sure that there is at least one national dish of that country available on its menu. in belgium, that's a very nice chef's salad. try it - it's nice! i got mine at the mcdonald's in ghent.

Re:Fail. (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#39615267)

Belgium.... it's not far from the Netherlands, were I was born...

Re:Fail. (1)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#39615405)

eyy, i loved living in holland. i was there for 15 months. i can pronounce "scheveningen" with no trace of an accent :) i know many dutch people find den haag to be boring, but i loved it. the beach parties - shutupanddance.nl - were just awesome.

Re:Fail. (1)

orasio (188021) | about 2 years ago | (#39617607)

First, I don't think this particular initiative will be any good.
Second, OLPC was not a failure. In Uruguay, my country, it was a great way to push forward the universality of internet access.
I understand that Mexico has it a lot tougher, but even in the extreme case that you are a kid who works on the streets, internet access can help you a lot. For instance, you can improve your reading, learn a few extra English words to get more money from gringos, or know whether a local shelter is open tonight.

Re:Fail. (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#39619343)

Uhm, yeah, a street kid needs an iPad to learn that a local shelter is open...

How many gringos do you think are there in Mexico? I live in Xalapa, which has a population of about half a million people and I stand out. I hardly see any white people ever. If the people on the streets here had to live from a few English words and being able to read... And how do they get those magical tables? Are they going to be handed out on the streets?

Moreover, if you want to improve reading skills and learning English, don't you think that stopping dubbing over movies and use subtitles instead doesn't have a greater impact? That stuff is already in place (a lot of people have TV) and it costs nothing to get it rolling (it might even be cheaper).

Mexico has good internet access, in Xalapa there's a cybercafe at nearly every corner (I met my wife online, and she used one close to her house). To me, the whole "let's push technology on them so they can improve their lives" sounds to much like someone hasn't done his/her homework. Or has done his/her homework very well, but has a very different agenda.

Even if this whole project becomes a "success", I am afraid that I will encounter those magical learning devices 2 or 3 years after they have been "given" to the poor in the places I hike. Dumped in illegal trash heaps causing another problem. And the poor will still be poor. Or, I am afraid, will be even more poor.

Anyway, a very good read on this all: http://www.deeshaa.org/2005/11/05/formula-for-milking-the-digital-divide/ [deeshaa.org]

Re:Fail. (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about 2 years ago | (#39620563)

How is a tablet going to fix that? I often read "with a tablet they can learn about better farming methods, etc.". If that's the case, why can't they learn such things now?

Because the people that come up with these hair brained ideas of saving the developing world with advanced technology are stupid. They think they can run in and throw technology at a problem and it will go away. They don't stop to think that the traditional methods will work better in this case.

For the price of one of these tablets alone, not counting the cost of the infrastructure to support it, you could probably buy 100 or more text books. A nice book. it will last for years without batteries and can be passed to other people. Sure you can't update a book as good as a tablet or a PC but the type of information in the books we are talking about doesn't change radically over the years.

Re:Fail. (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#39621083)

Yup, exactly. There are already so many ways to pass on information, even spoken or in song. While books do last in Mexico not as long as in the Netherlands, for example (moisture, termites, etc.), they certainly last at least 10x longer than a tablet.

Re:Fail. (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#39613249)

It's more like "One *Intel* Laptop per Child". Intel really missed the mobile devices market. That's rapidly approaching the bottom end of the PC market. They simply cannot afford to lose out due to the sheer number of CPU cores that the market provides (billions).

Re:Fail. (1)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | about 2 years ago | (#39613341)

This is pretty much spot-on. Intel is latching on to every dumb idea to get back into the growth sectors but not having much luck. Everything they do these days is reactive.

The funny part about this initiative isn't that Intel is scraping the bottom of the barrels now, it's that ARM-based chips are a far better value proposition for this type of thing - the very reason they're being clobbered in mobile space.

Re:Fail. (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#39613487)

It's not just Intel though. Microsoft is sponsoring application developers for their smartphones and tablets. Stanford university has provided a timeline of CPU's (but omitting ARM) for reference by engineers - I wonder if that is a deliberate patent honeypot?
It really looks like there is this sudden panic.

Re:Fail. (1)

fmobus (831767) | about 2 years ago | (#39614117)

Three hundred dollars per children for a gadget is still damn expensive for most of brazilian households.

Re:Fail. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39613125)

Sewers aren't sexy. Can't be manufactured in China (well, I suppose they could be) and more importantly, rely on the local government to organize, install and maintain it. Can't have those sorts of things go on.

Re:Fail. (3, Insightful)

tunapez (1161697) | about 2 years ago | (#39613131)

They fail because, unlike your alternative suggestions, a better life is not the objective. Despite what the marketing team would like you to believe, the true objective is to score/create new consumers in new markets.

Re:Fail. (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#39613133)

Don't forget AMD's 50x15 project as well. The computer in a breadbox. I saw it here in Mexico, and it was as expensive as a cheap desktop computer with much lower specs. Ah, well, you can still Donate for Haiti on 50x15.org...

Re:Pass! :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619011)

Raspberry PI...


Re:Fail. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#39613161)

Tech helps SOME of those exposed to it, not all. It's not a binary choice between computers and the other items on your list.

The elephant in the room is still local culture. The Third World is the way it is because of choices its humans make. Culture is what keeps people "backward", and technology can't cure all of that.

The best gradual remedy for backward culture is INFORMATION.

Computers are "subversive" because they help spread information. Don't give up on that if you really want change.

Re:Fail. (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#39613231)

Having mobile phones seemed to help local fishermen. Not only did it help them find the best prices for their catches, it also helped improve the distribution of food.

Once the population has food security, they can afford to start saving money and making long term financial investments like hospitals, schools, colleges, housing and offices.

Creating a World without Poverty (3, Interesting)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#39613261)

what you're describing is what Professor Muhammad Yunus (joint winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize) outlines, in his book, "Creating a World without Poverty". in it he describes the best way to achieve the results that you've highlighted.

the absolute most critical point that professor yunus makes is that you can't just go in blithely and "help" people. you *HAVE* to get them to help themselves (or at least offer them the *opportunity* to help themselves). it's none of our business - not a government and not a charity - to go dictating what's best for people. that's what's so brilliant about the micro-loans system: the PEOPLE decide what they want to do - they decide what works for them, and, out of sheer overwhelming gratitude they go for it like you just wouldn't believe.

the loan repayment success rate is so high (over 98%) that the Grameen bank actually considers it THEIR failure if people get into difficulties. compare that to an EIGHTY SEVEN percent default rate in the west (which starts to make you appreciate that there's something desperately wrong with the western mindset). the Grameen Bank is so successful that they don't even bother retaining any lawyers. at all.

it may interest you to know that one of the chapters of Professor Yunus's book calls for IT specialists to take the initiative and create some infrastructure that would help people to uplift themselves out of poverty. that still hasn't really happened yet, and i'm really perplexed and slightly frustrated that it hasn't happened.

anyway, bit of an old article that's still relevant: http://www.advogato.org/article/966.html [advogato.org]

Re:Creating a World without Poverty (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39613307)

...one of the chapters of Professor Yunus's book calls for IT specialists to take the initiative and create some infrastructure that would help people to uplift themselves out of poverty. that still hasn't really happened yet, and i'm really perplexed and slightly frustrated that it hasn't happened.

There are many initatives for this kind of thing, but it's very hard to see how the pieces fit together to produce that kind of infrastructure. There's a good reason for that too: Anything that could be cost effective as a communications medium in the 3rd world would oblitherate those company's strangehold on the current (expensive) infrastructure.

But we're all well aware that the internet as we know it has gone to shit and we need to solve the problem of how to create a connection between two nodes that cannot be eavesdropped, does not rely on a 3rd party (central authority) to work, and can provide for anonymity. It's obvious that money is required to build an IT network, but we need some very strong controls to make sure that the interests providing that money can't later co-opt the network for their own purposes. The network needs to provide communications in a way that can't be fucked with to selectively block content.

The only way to do that is wirelessly. Software defined radio will eventually create the network outlined above, but it will probably be "pirate radio" as it were, since every country in the west auctions off spectrum to corporations -- there is no concept of 'public use' across most of the spectrum, and the few areas that are 'public use' are actively being attacked by corporate interests who want to reclaim it.

In short, it's a non-trivial problem to solve. People are working on it, believe me... but we're not being public about it nor are we recruiting many of the youth of today because they've grown up in a DRM-enabled world where everything is ruled by a corporation. My 15 yo sister is deathly afraid of using anything but iTunes because she fears the government will bust our door down and take her to Guantanamo bay if she downloads a .mp3, despite the fact that she knows I have 4x 1TB drives filled with 'pirate' material under my bed and download with impunity.

Ironic that for the first time in history, it's the 'older' generation that is risking their lives and livelihood to ensure freedom for the 'current' generation... usually it's the kids we sacrifice to war. -_-

Re:Creating a World without Poverty (1)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#39613469)

it's fascinating to read something from someone who's clearly clued up. i have obtained a copy of the IEEE 802.22 whitespaces broadband specification, and i know of someone who would be willing to help implement it (he's an RF engineer) if the uses are limited to non-military and non-commercial. so there is potentially a *legal* way to get the range required.

and don't worry about obliterating expensive infrastructure: the incumbent "large" telcos have *already* written off the emerging markets because nobody in them can afford to pay the kinds of premiums and contracts that are demanded. the "competitors" - if you can call them that - are the local telcos who buy 2nd-hand end-of-lifed GSM towers at 1/10th of the cost. and they're not exactly providing a fast network using 20-year-old technology, are they? :)

Re:Fail. (1)

owlnation (858981) | about 2 years ago | (#39613437)

I've got a better idea: How about we build some sewers, electricity, get them some running water, and then setup some better agricultural facilities

These things have been done for decades. Does NOT work! All that does is create a culture of dependence. And of resentment, where middle-class patronizing aid workers and missionaries come and pat the heads of poor people and tell them how to live their lives. You want to breed terrorism, that's the way to go.

The only aid they need is education. They have plenty of resources and cheap manpower. They can build anything, if they were only educated enough to throw off their dictator governments, and fight corruption. As it is now the corruption does really well off aid projects. Giving aid, however well meaning, is the wrong way to go.

They need information and ideas, that is all. They already have everything else they need.

Re:Fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613493)

I agree to some extent that just giving someone a computer isn't going to make their life better. But if you teach them how to use that computer to find the information they need to improve themselves and their local community, then your in a whole different ballpark.

However I do not trust any initiative done for public image to do that, after all just listen to the testimony Jonny Long gave when he first reported about hackers for charity. When he arrived in Urganda all of the computers sent over there were in storage because no one set them up or taught the locals how to work with them.

Re:Fail. (1)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#39616055)

What about translating the books they could use into their language? Why do they need laptops/tablets and the associated infrastructure that powers them and the additional infrastructure that binds them to the internet where they can access a vast pool of knowledge in a foreign language?

Re:Fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613577)

How about we build some sewers, electricity, get them some running water, and then setup some better agricultural facilities (read: big farms!), and when that's done, some factories and office buildings for them to work in?

How about they build these things for themselves? Why would I want to build these things for them? In the game of life, one does not win by giving stuff away. Also, the recipients don't learn to value things when they are just handed out. Honestly, it is that whole "give a man a fish" thing. You do that, he comes back whining about why you didn't give him another. These folks need to build their own infrastructure. Would it be nice if some people volunteer to help out? Sure. But the locals need to actually be in on the work. Take Habitat for Humanity as an example. The people who end up with the house are required to help build it.

Re:Fail. (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#39614955)

Sigh. Every one of these initiatives fail because people assume access to technology will make people more educated, and education leads to a better life.

Who even said that? This Intel initiative is about selling more Intel chips, not about educating kids (although, I'm sure they don't mind the tax write-offs of pretending to be like a charity).

If Intel could start selling their chips as expensive paper weights, or as expensive ornamental pendants, they'd formulate goals that are as equally far-reaching and unattainable. This is what's called "big picture" thinking. This is what the CEOs get the big bucks for.

Re:Fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621079)

Well, that's not that simple.
In Mali for example there is a cellphone app (and yes, the cellphone rate of penetration even in the poorest part of the population is quite high) which gives small farmers access to market price nationwide for cereals or vegetables.
Which is really a great way to empower them against urban traders who used to reap all the benefits.

I don't know if it's made into an app already but there was an NGO in Kamerun who really changed things for the poor people by teaching them their rights and so allowing them to confront police racket.

I agree that top-down way of doing things is doomed to failure, but that doesn't mean that hi-tech is useless for poor people.

China and Brazil (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#39613041)

Nevermind the world gives these two all of their manufacturing, they apparently need free toys as well.

I await the 975$ Intel tablet that supplements this program, and I will laugh at it.

Oh, this will work... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39613151)

It's hard not to be pessimistic about this scheme. I'm sure that Intel has the engineering muscle and the cash to at least shove some units out the door(if not actually hit their targeted TDPs and battery lives) and the hardware might even be an interesting alternative to some of the present ARM SoC tablets at a similar price point; but that won't really solve the basic problem:

Actually turning computers into educational results, even in the wealthy subsections of wealthy industrialized countries where access to computers has been ubiquitous for a number of years now, has turned out to be difficult. Not necessarily impossible(and certainly a boon for the nonzero-but-hard-to-replicate autodidactic success stories); but definitely not obvious, and generally not happening in places where reasonable amounts of educational success were already being achieved by conventional methods.

It is likely that digital distribution technologies will, at some point in the reasonably near future, firmly undercut print on total price(ie. counting the units needed to read the stuff, and the infrastructure, not just the marginal cost of somebody with a computer and an internet connection snarfing Project Gutenberg), which would be a boon to anybody who has plans for producing material that don't involve paying substantial per-unit license fees; but that only brings computers to parity with print(also, it is fairly likely that sub-$100 e-ink or super-cheapy LCD devices will undercut on price well before fancy tablets do).

Shipping aggressively cheap and robust hardware is certainly a nontrivial engineering challenge, and a necessary condition of any educating-the-poor-with-computers plan; but we already have a test case, wealthy denizens of the developed world, where the hardware and infrastructure exist and we've been able to watch the pedagogical techniques and software in action. The results have not been... overly encouraging...

Re:Oh, this will work... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#39613239)

I think this is a reaction to the DataWind Aakash tablet [androidadvices.com]. The Aakash is a 7" Android slate that's ruggedized. The original one was sold for $35 to India, for school children. It had a resistive display and wasn't quite as acceptable as they were hoping for. A newer model is in production with a capacitive display at the same price. They are having some political issues with follow-through, but they will probably sort that out.

The tablets come with a K-12 education content pack localized for the region (India has many different languages).

India is looking to provide these to "all" students in the next 10 years. Given the demographics of India, that's a half-billion units.

As for the overall philosophy of putting the technology in the hands of children, I'm for it. As others here will speculate, I'm sure not every child will use the information to their best advantage. But some will, and the literacy rates will improve. The general education will improve. Some, who could not otherwise, will use the benefit to improve their lives and the life of their community.

With so many Android tablets, and Android tablet developers in India it seems likely they will discover the opportunity of publishing apps and this might turn into an amazing thing.

Whether it's Intel or ARM based tablets, the day when everyone can have their own library is fast approaching.

Re:Oh, this will work... (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39613325)

Well, the DataWind Aakash actually came in at a cost to the govt of slightly over $50, not $35, that's the subsidized price. Still, that's a long way below Intel's $299 price target. Sure, Intel is talking about a 10" tablet, with more power, but it's a huge price differential. And for a device that is intended to be used by school children, price and durability are two key factors, both of which Intel has missed.

Re:Oh, this will work... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39613475)

One has to wonder if Intel is banking on substantial subsidizing going on, or whether they are looking at the higher edge of 'developing'. $300 undercuts iPads if the other specs check out; but isn't very aggressive at all for a future goal by the standards of assorted android tablets of varying quality, available now, or assorted netbooks, packing Intel silicon even, available now.

Given Intel's preferences for nice margins, and ongoing woes at hitting low power targets, along with the horridness of really cheap touchscreens, it isn't a huge surprise that their target would be so undramatic; but it doesn't fill one with optimism for their success in cost-sensitive markets.

Re:Oh, this will work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39617719)

Unless they're filling this thing with 64+ GB of flash memory, a high resolution screen and pointless 15MP cameras, Intel's $300 price likely includes a substantial retail margin. This device should really not cost much more than an ipod touch to build.

Re:Oh, this will work... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#39613481)

Intel has a "cannibalization" problem. If they push an IA tablet that costs $50 they're not going to sell as much of their product into $500 laptops. This is actually the vulnerability the new mobile paradigm is attacking them through.

They also have a Windows problem. The minimum requirements for Windows is much higher, which means a higher BOM, which means a higher retail cost. But Intel's OEM partners are for the most part dependent on their income from Windows PCs to maintain their method of business and can't commit to a non-Windows system. There is some belief that Windows 8 will cure this ill, but it seems unlikely to me.

So the OEMs can't transition off of Windows, Intel can't find somebody to launch low-cost low-performance delightful devices like the Transformer, and formerly mobile device makers like Samsung, HTC and Motorola Mobility are starting to cut off the air supply of the PC OEM industry.

The fear of "cannibalization" may kill Intel eventually if they don't get over it. This is technology and the direct translation of "cannibalization" is "progress". For a company like Intel to fear progress is a terrible thing.

Re:Oh, this will work... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39613431)

As I noted, I'm reasonably certain that the replacement of paper texts by electronics, for most purposes, is likely to be a relatively near-future phenomenon. It depends somewhat on your purpose. Amazon's pilot studies with Kindle textbooks at some American university received tepid reviews, too unwieldy for margin notes/highlighting/quickly finding your place; but the convenience and portability factors of ereader devices are said to make owners of such bigger readers of texts where that isn't a problem. Presumably, it would also be an advantage in locations that have some data connectivity but lousy supply chains. Even a CSD GRPS connection can likely move a book faster than many postal services can.

If broad selection in remote areas, very low fixed costs for a 'print run', or frequent updates are required, electronic text is already a winner. If you want fully papery notetaking capabilities, we seem to be Not Quite There Yet. The jury still seems to be out on readability: LCDs are fast enough but have their detractors, e-ink is more comfortable; but refresh and color aren't so hot. I honestly don't know whether, for standardized texts like newspapers and textbooks, whether the pure economics are there yet or not. Digital has a marginal cost of nearly nothing; but the fixed costs are nontrivial and are spread broadly across end users, where conditions favor hardware damage, rather than centralized at the printer. Electronic gadgets also tend to fail less gracefully than paper. On the other hand, paper has nagging per-unit costs and doesn't favor small runs.

In any case, though, that only addresses replacing books which are, to go by the experience of the developed world, not the primary limiting factor in educational outcomes...

Where the Hell is the EWaste Program? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613181)

How can we infinitely make more small, high resource gadgets and not have a life-cycle program for them?
The true costs of the natural resources used are not reflected in the cost of electronics, for a variety of reasons, and price competition is such that "lowest possible price wins." Naturally this is a recipe for disaster. This article is just as irritating as OLPC if not more so..

Not to mention the toxics in a dense piece of electronics are a completely different story than paper books. ugh.

Quote from SJ (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613217)

This is a pertinent quote from Steve Jobs on this OLPC-like programs which end up failing every time.

I used to think that technology could help education. I've probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I've had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What's wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.

It's a political problem. The problems are sociopolitical.

So yeah, good luck to Intel.

Re:Quote from SJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39615583)

SJ isn't the fucking messiah.

Re:Quote from SJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39615695)

He definitely isn't. In fact, I think he was a pretentious dick-licker, much like you. However, in this instance he's making a very good point, unlike you.

Re:Quote from SJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39615703)

But he's still probably right. We just had a story in this past week about how much of a flop OLPC turned out to be. There are so many other obstacles to be solved before we can simply hand out some hardware and expect it to do any good. What really needs to happen is the application of open source principles to the field of education. Currently so much of it is locked away that it's hard to get good material into the hands of those who need it for a reasonable price, let alone free. It's not just at the K-12 level either. Think of how much research published these days are locked behind pay-walls of some sorts. It's a complete pain in the ass to do research when other potentially relevant information is only available after paying $20 for a paper.

Regardless of what you think about Jobs in other regards, he's pretty damned dead on about this.

Re:Quote from SJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39616953)

Regardless of what you think about Jobs in other regards, he's pretty damned dead on about this.

Too soon.

Perfect for Metro (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#39613361)

Given how Windows 8 seems to be more geared towards tablets, this tablet would be perfect for that platform. Load it up w/ Windows 8, and then at least, people don't need to worry about apps compatibility.

No need to bother w/ dual OSs - as far as Unix based tablets go, ARM pretty much has it sewn up.

Intel's Hail Mary Attempt (1)

Ian.Waring (591380) | about 2 years ago | (#39613449)

Given the price of ARM based boards (and some MIPS based ones) are below $25, run Linux really well and have 100+ factories churning them out in at least one area of China, I think Intel have over cooked their target price.

See: http://opensource.com/life/12/1/linux-hardware-race-tiniest-and-cheapest-15-cheap [opensource.com]

Clearly, the display will be a big cost, and integrating it as one system will add more cost, but it feels like Intel will be considerably more expensive at their published price points. I'll guess at 50% higher.

end of civilization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613811)

proprietary technology needed for reading: end of civilization, i dont need to purchase a product to read a paper book. my brain has all the image recognition and translation software i need. until we have a universal, nonproprietary set of tech standards for which all electronically published material can be read, civilization is in peril

Re:end of civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39615111)

"i dont need to purchase a product to read a paper book."

you need to purchase the book numbnuts

Selling coal to Newcastle much? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39614521)

will target the emerging markets such as China and Brazil [...] priced below US$299

Ah, the irony! Selling cucumbers to the gardener, ice to Eskimos and coal to Newcastle.

I bought last week one Android tablet for less than $200, postage (by UPS express) included. From mainland China [aliexpress.com].
I'm pretty sure Brazil (being a good chum with China in BRICS and dropping USD as the trade currency [wikipedia.org] ) would be able to buy at much cheaper prices.

Why not sell these things at the same price here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39615199)

Computers are still expensive. Not nearly as much as they were, but they still could cost less.

$299 is too high a price point (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#39616371)

If they want to get one in the hands of every child in countries like China and Brazil, their price point is at least 4X too high. It has to be scaled back.

Um, Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39616523)

How about One Square Meal per Child? Oh, right, there's no money in feeding them. Just make sure the tablets are edible, or repel flies. Maybe you can program the tablets to replace however many parents have been murdered or abducted from their village and forced into slavery building tablet computers, or fighting wars over imaginary creatures.

Sorry to be such a downer, it just sounds like a lot of pandering to people who feel guilty enough to care, but not enough to do something about the problems. I ask you all, and this is not rhetorical... WTF does a poor kid in a village somewhere in a place where they maybe don't even have the internet or electricity need with a tablet computer?

leave this to the Chinese Company (1)

dassio (2613385) | about 2 years ago | (#39616641)

if you want an cheap toy for poor family ,leave it to the Chinese factories, they can do better and with lower price . but the problem is does people really want this, i don't see this in my country(China).

You don't even have this in the first world (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39617089)

exactly how do the economics make sense in the third world if you can't even do this in the first world?

Think it through, twits.

Re:You don't even have this in the first world (1)

kakur (233321) | about 2 years ago | (#39617699)

I have to agree with this sentiment. Where is the 'one laptop per child' program in America? Not all of our own children have a laptop or a tablet, and we actually have the infrastructure to effect such a program.

Sometimes I wonder if these programs are just a veil over the real problems third world countries have, like lack of food or good water, because providing technology that they often can't effectively use.

If we really wanted to help these countries we'd help them build real infrastructure and provide them with ways to purify their own water.

Our own educational system is in a shambles over here as well, if technology in the hands of kids truly helps, maybe we should concentrate on getting our own house in order first.

Re:You don't even have this in the first world (1)

kakur (233321) | about 2 years ago | (#39617707)

thats what I get for posting at 6am.

Because providing technology that they often can't effectively use, is easier than fixing their real problems.

Re:You don't even have this in the first world (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39618211)

Meh... if recent events have taught us anything, nation building as it is currently understood is counter productive.

You don't fix a country by giving them stuff or even by going there and helping them. It's just exploited by the very elements in the society that have kept them poor and disorganized for all these years.

Someone we have to understand with all these countries is that there are reasons why they're poor, hungry, and primitive. It's not like we've been hording our knowledge of clean drinking water for the last 2000 years. And yes, the technology to not drink water that cows have been doing their business in has been around for at least the last 2000 years... probably a good 6000 years. And if you come upon a society that still hasn't figured that little gem out you're not dealing with a society that hasn't been exposed to or offered the technology in the past. They've simply never implemented it for "some" reason. Frequently this is political instability, corruption, or various cultural problems.

Net result, nothing you do for these people is going to help because their underlying problem isn't technological or even related to lack of food or water. It's often a problem with local warlords or a cultural that embraces fatalism. This is an alien concept to modern western thinking but most third world cultures tend to be deeply fatalistic. They have a notion of "whatever happens happens" and don't feel that their actions can have any impact on the future. That means they don't get involved with or in anyway proactive in the uplift or even maintenance of their society. Consequently, things slide down to some equilibrium point where individuals or local groups will invest just enough in the local infrastructure to keep themselves marginally comfortable but once that level is reached they'll lose all interest in the effort.

Point being, there are two ways to fix the third world in my opinion.

1. Leave them alone and allow the to organically pull themselves out. That is, wait for those cultures to fix their own problems on their own their own way. That would include letting them fight wars amongst themselves especially civil wars to sort out underlying political dysfunctions.

2. Follow the example of Rome. Go in there, establish the Pax Roma. Completely take over and colonize the area.

Short of that... I believe most of these efforts to be little more then philanthropic masturbation. The sort of meaningless feel good charity work that gets good press but ultimately accomplishes jack all.

Call that cynical... that's my understanding of the situation.

Re:You don't even have this in the first world (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about 2 years ago | (#39620945)

Call that cynical... that's my understanding of the situation.

You sir, maybe cynical but you are also very correct. i will use Africa as an example simply because it is the one I've been harping on for years. "Africa's problems, are African problems. Let the Africans solve them."

Of course when I say this people call it racist and start thumping on the book that says Africa wouldn't be in the situation if it wasn't for colonization. Yes that maybe true but doesn't change anything. Colonization ended last century, and we have to think of the now. Nothing the west can do to change what happened and trying to fix it only makes it worse. We have to let them sort it out themselves.

We have to let them sort it out. That means millions will die in civil wars, illness and famine. Well that is better than the alternative. And here is the alternative. We keep meddling, which means we keep sending them food. They keep eating beyond their ability to sustain themselves and so they breed. The more they breed the more we have to keep meddling, which means more food and more breeding.

There will come a time when we can no longer feed them and the whole system will collapse. But now instead of a few million dying, hundreds of millions will die. Hundreds of millions that never should have been born.

Yes, its cold and harsh, but the alternative is far worse.

Re:You don't even have this in the first world (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39621175)

Mhhhmm... africa was vulnerable to colonization because it was screwed up. The Europeans while having advantages could only exploit places that were political basket cases.

Five hundred Spaniards didn't bring down the Inca Empire because they were military geniuses. They literally just grabbed the king which they were allowed to get near with their full strength and hold the whole kingdom hostage.

Herp derp.

Permutations on that were repeated around the world. The europeans looked for weaknesses... they were opportunists. Where they saw strength they bargained. Where they saw weakness, they attacked. And anything they were able to claim they then fortified and exploited.

They were ruthless, merciless, and ravenous.

Africa was a basket case before the europeans colonized. European colonialism in most regions of the world started by exploiting the locals in some fundamental way.

The british for example were very fond of finding an oppressed tribe or ethnic group that was being subjugated by a larger tribe or ethnic group. The british offered the weaker faction English guns, English soldiers to act as the point of the spear, English artillery, English training to turn thousands of their people into passable imperial soldiers, and of course british officers to lead them. And in return, they gained a better life for their family, ethnic group, and were able to visit doom upon their enemies under the thunder of British guns.

The Indians were the most dramatic example of this model where they were used against their Islamic overlords.

Indian society still copies many archaic British traditions inherited from that contact.

In any case, I wish none of these people ill. Quiet the opposite. I hope they advance and solve their problems. I just won't condescend to believe I or my society has the power to fix their problems in a culturally appropriate way. We don't know or care enough about their cultures to bother with that. We could show absolute contempt for their cultures and supplant every facet of their society with our own. But most people aren't willing to do that. So that being the case we should just leave these people be to work out their own issues. Ideally they do so with a minimum of bloodshed.

Re:You don't even have this in the first world (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about 2 years ago | (#39622851)

In any case, I wish none of these people ill. Quiet the opposite. I hope they advance and solve their problems. I just won't condescend to believe I or my society has the power to fix their problems in a culturally appropriate way.

I'm pretty much the same way. I post worse case situations to get people to think. Most of the time, they don't think go spout out whatever is the first nonsense thing that pops in their head.

There is also a lot of hypocritical thinking in these "save the people from themselves" movements. You see if we rush in with guns blazing and take over and supplant the native culture that is racist and colonization and is evil. They don't stop to think that a great deal of the problems comes from these native cultures and us trying to force modern thinking on them. But colonization is no the answer to fixing these problems.

The do gooders think we have to just give then technology and food with no strings attached. Anything else is just racist. An example is AIDS in South Africa. Ramped superstition has them blaming AIDS on evil spirits and the way to cure it is to rape a virgin. Doesn't matter the age just as long as she is a virgin. Results are millions of children from infants up are getting raped and infected with AIDS.

So we rush in with expensive AIDS medication and tell these people that AIDS is not caused by evil spirits. All of a sudden we are trying to influence and suppress the culture, there for we are racist. We need to give them this expensive medication for nothing and no input from us because we don't want to be racist about it.

But on the other hand if you suggest that we should leave them be and let them sort it out themselves. Well then they get up in arms because and say they are just primitive savages that don' t know any better. Its our duty to save the and feed them. All of a sudden its racist if we decide to let them sort their problems out and treat them like human beings.

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