Sunday, January 13, 2008

Intel undermines $100 laptop initiative, but Tata Motors pulls it of with its $2500 car

Last week, Intel chickened out from its promise of delivering to the world a $100 laptop, mainly targeted at the impoverished masses, in an attempt to bring Information Technology to the rural population and school children in the developing worlds. They sure should be ashamed out themselves. These kind of false promises do catch the media attention, especially if you're talking about non-profit, global causes, etc. It shows that they didn't plan well before they announced, or something screwed up with the plan. If it was a for-profit project, one reason I could see when such projects are terminated pre-maturely is when they decide that it would be a -ve NPV effort to continue the project (that is, they are better off in their losses if they drop their project at this point), and they would consider the investments thus far as sunk costs and drop the project. But in Intel's case, if they categorized it as a non-profit effort, they are worthy enough to be criticized for undermining the distribution and progress of the initiative. Obviously, Professor Nicholas Negroponte, the founder and man behind this initiative, is not too happy with Intel's sudden stance either. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization (owned by both Intel and Prof. Negroponte) is at stake, thanks to Intel.

On the other hand, Tata Motors - one of India's largest automobile manufacturers, has just launched its $2500 (one lakh Indian rupees) car. This "nano" car, as they call it, runs on a 623 cc engine and offers 50 miles per gallon. Can you beat it? To add, it is also much more environment-friendly than most other cars and even motorcycles.
I believe it is 21% bigger inside than a Maruti 800, one of those age-old small Indian cars, but only 80% as long. So, worried about Indian traffic? This is a great leap to save parking space and offers better maneuvering through the Indian traffic. Above all, it is so affordable - the car for the poor!

So, there seems to be a new pattern that is taking shape here. Cheap, inexpensive, but good performing stuff for the people from the developing countries, and those below the poverty line. Some succeed, some try and get out later. Nevertheless, the improvement in technology is a big success!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, they got 4 seats into that...

9:20 PM  

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