Intel, OLPC, and Croquet

It is interesting to compare Intel’s participation in Croquet vs. the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC).

Intel is a corporate member of the Croquet consortium, along with HP and Qwaq. Intel’s CEO Justin Rattner demonstrated Croquet-based Qwaq Forums during his keynote at the big Intel Developers Forum, and they are building a joint product with Qwaq. This all makes complete sense for Intel. For example, this week the market research pundits at Forrester released a report that says the 3D Internet will be ubiquitous in business in the next few years and that Information & Knowledge specialists should get started now with Qwaq. But there’s an even deeper fit specifically for Intel, which does not apply to OLPC.

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Intel adapting to OLPC, and graphics accleration on mobiles

My read of this article, and the linked presentations for investors, is that Intel’s fairly near-term strategy:

  • Includes major specific responses to the OLPC. (E.g., a focus on lower cost and marketing in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.) OLPC has changed the game.
  • Suggests that graphics acceleration must be included in Intel’s products for mobile computing. (E.g., noting that “the most important applications…including Second Life” won’t run on a mobile phone, and that the “uncrompromised” “full Internet” has to run on mobiles without delay from when it is available on desktops.)

Nothing to be surprised at, but this is the first time I’ve seen this officially from Intel.

this just in: All your planet are belong to us

How will it change the world to give millions of children low-cost computers and open source software? The first real effect is to provoke a response from Microsoft.

Initially Wintel executives dismissed and ridiculed the OLPC project. But now Microsoft is employing the infamous embrace-and-destroy practice that it has always used to subdue competition.

People are already reporting that Microsoft now plans to give away crippled versions of their software for as little as $3 a copy. But take a look at the real deal. Professional edition can be had for a dollar. Most importantly, the program offers cheap used junk Wintel computers, with Microsoft paying half the cost. In order to place their software in the world’s hands, they intend to undercut the complete OLPC package cost by roughly half. Never mind that the crap boxes consume massive amounts of unavailable power, require massive wired infrastructure through the rainforests, are full of toxins, not hardened against sand and kid use, etc. And of course, the software is the same crap they foist on the rest of us.

Clever, no?


I’ve admitted that I didn’t immediately get the point of the One Laptop Per Child project, but now I’m now very excited about the ideas behind this non-profit effort to build a $100 mesh-network computer to be owned by children in the developing world. This essay captures a lot of what I feel and wonder about it, including some fears of dystopian unexpected consequences.

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