Friday, May 19, 2006

World cup win? Cheap Laptops for all!

Toshiba is offering 66% off its notebooks – as long as Becks and co do the business in Germany.

If sheer national pride wasn’t enough, there’s now another reason to hope that Sven can guide England to victory in the World Cup – you might just pick up a bargain laptop.

Toshiba, being the footie tournament’s “official IT partner”, has said that anyone who buys one of its Intel Centrino Duo laptops will get a netbusting 66% rebate in the event of England walking away with the trophy.

“But where’s the inevitable catch?” we hear you cry. And you’d be right – there is one, kind of: you actually have to buy the laptop for full price before the World Cup and then hunker down and root for Becks and the boys. If they don’t win the tournament – which seems increasingly likely given the fact that Peter Crouch may actually be relied upon to score goals – you’ll get a reduction of jack. And we don’t mean Charlton.

So it’s a bit of a gamble really, but if you were planning on buying a Centrino Duo-powered Tosh laptop anyway – say, the lovely Qosmio G30 Media Centre – it’s well worth a punt


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Intel unveils Cheap Laptops to span global 'digital divide'

The head of the world's largest chipmaker has unveiled a mobile personal computer designed to provide affordable collaborative learning environments for teachers and students around the world.

Paul Otellini, Intel Corp.'s chief executive, said the $400 machines -- code-named "Eduwise" -- will feature built-in wireless and will be able to run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows or the Linux operating system.

Many high-tech companies, including Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Microsoft, have announced similar initiatives in an effort to close the "digital divide" between developed and developing nations.

"What we want to do is accelerate to uncompromised technology for everyone in the world," Otellini said during a demonstration at the World Congress on Information Technology in Austin.

"No one wants to cross the digital divide with yesterday's technology."

The flip-open Eduwise computer, which includes a handle and light blue accents, snaps shut like a purse. Special software lets students in a classroom view presentations, take tests and interact individually with their teachers using a built-in wireless connection.

The cheaper PCs are part of a $1-billion investment by Intel over the next five years to promote the use of computers in schools, cafes and other public spots in developing countries, Otellini said.

The Eduwise machine was designed by Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, but will be built by its computer-making customers.

Otellini said the devices should be available next year.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Nicholas Negroponte's nonprofit One Laptop Per Child association hopes to begin providing $100 laptops to millions of children in China, India, Egypt, Brazil, Thailand, Nigeria and Argentina by early 2007.

Tentative designs call for a machine that uses one-10th of the power of conventional laptops, a seven-inch screen and the Linux operating system. The project's partners include Google Inc. and AMD.

In an earlier speech at the conference, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said the benefits of the global spread of technology are only starting to be felt.

"What we see going forward over the next five, 10, 15 years is a world of technology that has the potential itself to be even more important than the positive change it has enabled within society in the past 10 years," he said.

"Computers will see, computers will listen, computers will understand. Computers will help the world grow smaller and help people to collaborate in new ways."

On Wednesday, Otellini said Intel had reached a deal with the Mexican government to provide new, low-cost PCs to 300,000 teachers by year's end.

"The federal government of Mexico has made great progress in bringing


Cheap Laptops

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

AMD, Intel Keep Planning For Super Cheap PC

Two of Silicon Valley's biggest technology rivals will promote initiatives this week to grow their global business by providing low-cost computers to developing countries. Intel is announcing it will spend $1 billion to speed up the marketing of inexpensive computers to such emerging markets as such as India, China and Mexico. Its rival, Advanced Micro Devices, is already making bare-bones computers that cost $250 or less.

AMD is also putting its chips into the $100 laptops being developed for the world's low-income children by a non-profit organization started by MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has criticized the $100 laptops for depriving the poor of some important computer functions. The laptops run the low-cost, open-source Linux operating system, which offers some competition for Microsoft's Windows. But Negroponte has said a $100 laptop could do much the same things as a $1,000 laptop


Monday, May 01, 2006

Cheap-laptop proponent pushes for launch in 2007

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who hopes to give $100 laptops to the world's children dismissed criticisms and said the project could begin Tuesday distributing the computers by early next year.

Nicholas Negroponte, kicking off the LinuxWorld conference in Boston, said he was undeterred by skepticism from two leading forces in computing, Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

"When you have both Intel and Microsoft on your case, you know you're doing something right," Negroponte said, prompting applause from the audience of open-source software devotees.

Negroponte, founder of the One Laptop Per Child nonprofit group, also disclosed a few tweaks to the design of the computers.

One distinctive element of the original design was for a hand crank to provide power to the laptops where there is no electricity. To compensate, the devices are being engineered to use 2 watts of electricity, less than one-tenth of what conventional portable computers typically consume.

Having a hand crank stuck to the device probably would have subjected the machine to too many wrenching forces, so it will now be connected to an electrical adapter. Because the adapter can rest on the ground, the power generator might take the form of a foot pedal rather than a crank.

Negroponte previously had said the devices would have a 7-inch screen. It will save on costs by using the Linux operating system, peer-to-peer wireless connectivity and a 500-megahertz processor, which was top of the line in the late 1990s.

One Laptop Per Child has big-name partners, including search leader Google Inc., chip-maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Linux distributor Red Hat Inc., laptop maker Quanta Computer Inc. and News Corp., the media company led by Rupert Murdoch. All have helped finance the project, which Negroponte said has raised $29 million.

However, skeptics have questioned whether the device can meet Negroponte's goal of inspiring huge educational gains in the developing world.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has criticized the computers' design, although many people in the tech world believe he was more irked by the laptops' use of Linux, the free, open-source system that competes with Gates' proprietary Windows systems.

Intel executives, meanwhile, have suggested that Negroponte's laptop is a mere gadget that will lack too many PC functions. Last week, Intel announced its own plans to sell an inexpensive desktop PC in developing countries.


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