On Fri, Dec 06, 2002 at 11:44:25PM -0500, Matt Rose wrote:
> > 3. What is the impact on recipients in the Third World? Is there no
> > better and more sustainable way of getting access to PCs? Are such
> > gift-horses appreciated well, or simply abused and misused by
> > recipients, who feel they've got the PCs in an easy way anyway? 


> parts are getting so cheap at wholesale prices now, that it would almost
> make more sense to get cheap CPUs, motherboards, and RAM, and assemble
> them properly at a plant in the country.  I think the person (not I,
> unfortunately) who could build and sell a computer for under $100 US in
> a developing country could make a fortune, and be seen as a
> philanthropist at the same time.  I don't think this is a pipe dream,
> but something that could happen tomorrow.  We always think of computers
> as expensive, but they're just a collection of parts.  These parts are
> fairly inexpensive if you don't want the most horsepower.  I can buy a
> PDA with a 33Mhz processor that fits in my pocket for 99 dollars.  Why
> can't I buy a desktop with a 33MHz processor for half that, considering
> that most of that $99 dollars goes into making the PDA small enough to
> fit in my pocket?

I think that is a really interesting idea to build low cost computers
from components. What I am not so sure about is whether the USD $100 or
USD $200 price point is easily achievable.

I remember a time when a friend forwarded me a web page that showed a
Walmart PC for $200 and I was just flabbergasted. I had been considered
PDAs as a platform for developing applications and one of my driving,
burning motivations was - how can one reduce the cost of computerization
and bring technology to many more people ?

So coming from a mindset where I was looking at PDAs, comparing prices
and features to get a sense of what kind of value each platform can
provide, it was an eye opener to see that a full PC could reach that
same price point.

That means the PC is not going away anytime soon to be replaced by the
PDA. Or maybe not ... How many people thought the mainframe or the
minicomputer would die ?

This is not to say that the mainframe really died, it is still
available, still relevant to some businesses and operates in many of the
markets that it used to dominate.

What really happened was that the PC shipped many more units than the
mainframe did and this turned the tables. I think despite problems like
the lack of a keyboard, small display size and fewer features as
compared to PCs, the PDA is going to exhibit the same feature. It will
sell many more units than the PC, especially as its technology evolves
to counter its limitations.

Sure it will not be as powerful as a PC of the same time but it will get
powerful enough that you won't really care. At that time, the real
insight that the PDA is not about cost but about mobility and ubiquity
will come and hit you like a hammer.

The PDA will rule at the nexus of price, portability (that translates to
convenience for the consumer) and wireless internet access (websites ==
mobile data from your desk, wireless PDA == mobile data from anywhere
and everywhere).

But as soon as you do not need portability, the PC will rule, which is
why I suspect that you are focused on the optimization of cost driver
factors for your niche.

Guido Sohne                                [EMAIL PROTECTED]
203, BusyInternet                         http://sohne.net
Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.
                 -- Sir Walter Raleigh

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