Shouldn’t it be One Tablet per Child?


And the hits just keep on coming.

Forbes has made it official: the tablet killed off the netbook. Better late than never.

It was obvious to anyone at the CES Unveiled 2012 event back in January. The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) display was mobbed, as they demonstrated a $100 tablet that replaced their original $100 computer project. Which, by the way, was the genesis of the netbook.

They never quite got their computer down to the target price point, but so many people who saw the prototypes said “I want one” that manufacturers such as ASUS and MSI jumped on the opportunity.

The $100 tablet, though, is looking like a like a winner. An OLPC team brought box loads of them to a remote village in Ethiopia, dropped the boxes in the middle of town, and left.

Five months later, they returned to find that the kids had figured out how to use the tablets, despite the fact they couldn’t read or write and didn’t speak a word of English.

For no good reason, someone involved in the project had disabled the cameras in the tablets. The kids figured out that the camera 1. existed and 2. didn’t work. So they hacked it. Kids who apparently had never seen a computer before figured out how to bust into the Android operating system and kludge a fix.

I’m looking forward to getting an update on the OLPC project at CES in a week or so. If you want to see great ideas at work, you need go no further than their booth.

About Steve Blum

Steve Blum is president of Tellus Venture Associates, a management, planning and business development consultancy for municipal and community broadband initiatives. He is a 30-year industry veteran and an expert in developing new broadband infrastructure and services, including wireless, fiber optic and satellite systems. His career includes playing key roles in the launch and growth of DirecTv in the U.S., as well as other satellite broadcasting platforms around the world. For the past ten years, he has helped build municipal wireless and fiber optic broadband systems. His client list includes many California cities, such as San Leandro, Palo Alto, Oakland, Los Angeles, Lompoc and Folsom. He’s a member of the executive team for the Central Coast Broadband Consortium and has worked with other regional consortia in California. Steve is the author of seven books on the Internet and satellite broadcasting and is a frequent contributor to professional journals and industry events. He holds an A.B. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in East Asia Studies from the University of Washington, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas. He is a triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher, and is currently ranked in the top 100 of the Challenge Triathlon world rankings, out of more than 30,000 athletes.