We’ve already got the One Laptop per Child program, and now this. Will more companies start to pay attention to the low end?

Imagine a world where the next generation of computers isn’t a hundred times faster and a lot more expensive than the one you just bought. What if they were designed without all the bells and whistles to be just a little more practical at a fraction of the price? A small Chinese firm has made good on the not-so-new idea that the bulk of personal computing can be done for much less money.

YellowSheepRiver Municator is selling a new Linux-based desktop for about $150. Like Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child project, makers of the Municator say they want to banish the digital divide.

“As (the) OLPC project is for children, Municator is for all people with such needs — the scope is a little bit different,” said David Lin, executive director at YellowSheepRiver, in an e-mail. “Although the target end users are different, one point (that) remains the same is that both OLPC and Municator would like to promote computers to people all over the world with a reasonable and affordable price.”

A good, basic computer is what most people need, anyway. (As long as gadget heads can still buy Alienware.)

  1. Angel H. Wong says:

    If Negroponte or anyone living in an ivory tower want to make basic computers easy to afford for people in these tiny backwater nations they should first get rid of the sleazy vendors who sell “brand” names like Dell and HP at obscene prices.

    The cheapest Dell and HP computers sold in the USA are sold down here in Honduras for up to FIVE TIMES THE PRICE LISTED ON THEIR RESPECTIVE WEBSITES.

  2. Sounds The Alarm says:

    WE – (the US) should be doing this.

    #1 – geez Angel, I didn’t know you got screwed like that there.

  3. Mark T. says:

    Whoops, the top of the line model is the YSR-666. That will not go over well with the evangelical crowd.

    The article quotes YellowSheepRiver developers as follows: “Proprietary operating systems like Microsoft Windows drive up costs beyond the reach of most people in China, so the company adopted the slogan “Say no to Wintel” and opted for open source.”

    Kinda hard to argue with that logic. I think that when these machines take off in China, the Linux community will explode with new developers. Who needs Indian programmers, anyways?

    So, is that $150 for the computer and another $200 for the Greenpeace proposed disposal fee?

  4. Luís Camacho says:

    I said it before and I say it again, WAS ABOUT TIME!

    Damn, maybe now I can get my Megadrive emulating PC?

  5. ECA says:

    Its always been a concern of mine, WHEN folks would wake up the the reality that IMPORT GOODS, SHOULDNT be sold as if they were MADE in the USA.
    The MAIN reason the corps, send the manufactouring to other countries is that ITS CHEAP.
    REALIZE, that anything you see sold in the US, was probably MADE at a cost of about 1/10th that its being SOLD to you, or even LESS.
    JUSt knowing this, could make you THINK about that $200 video card, and wonder HOW it got from $20…ANd why you should pay ALL that difference in cost and price.

  6. jbellies says:

    The landfill could be delayed if somebody would produce a chip that would fit in an old computer (replacing say a 133 MHz Pentium), using contemporary technology, so it would produce close to zero heat. Lose the fan and suddenly you’ve got silent computing for the price of this chip.

    No money in it for Intel or AMD, and no sex appeal compared to offering a whole computer for 150 dinarii. Still, a fella can dream.

  7. Mike B. says:

    Yellow Sheep River? Now there’s a name for ya! I can see the marketing now: “The *real* Pee Cee”…

  8. Max Bell says:

    This would be a lot cooler if I had an immediate need for such a thing.

  9. John Wofford says:

    It probably comes without monitor; the one pictured looks a bit high end.


Bad Behavior has blocked 7580 access attempts in the last 7 days.