The Children's Machine arrives

One of my favourite technology projects has just announced its new name. The hundred dollar laptop spearheaded by Nicholas Negroponte formerly called the OLPC is now called the CM1, or The Children’s Machine.

The 7.5-inch, 1,200 x 900 pixel configurable and mesh-networkable notebook, which runs a Fedora Linux distro powered by a 400MHz AMD Geode processor, is meant to supply kids in developing countries with a super-cheap way to access the Internet and bridge the so-called technological divide.

As ever, Microsoft of course is not taking this potential threat lying down. Recently Craig Mundie – research & strategy officer – demonstrated a prototype handset called the FonePlus, that connects to a keyboard and TV to provide people with basic computing functions.

Microsoft already offers the fully scaled down Starter Edition of Windows XP and has been promoting the FlexGo pay-as-you-go scheme in poorer countries where people pay a low upfront cost for a system and then access it using pre-paid cards.

Well in two weeks time I hope to see the Children’s Machine in the flesh, so to speak, at BT’s 21st Century Global Summit where Nicholas Negroponte will be the keynote speaker. I will have the opportunity to interview Nicholas briefly, so if there are any questions you would like me to pose to him please let me know.

My two questions will be:

1. Did Microsoft approach you to offer the Windows Starer Edition?

2. Are the UK Government going to place an order for use in primary schools?