Just as I started thinking about buying an Asus EEE PC, a company called Elonex have recently released a £99 laptop aimed at education users. Just like the first Asus EEE PCs they run on a cut down version of Linux. The standard model of these PCs have a 7″ screen, 1GB of onboard storage, usb port, network port and even wirelesss internet. The installed softare packages include word processing, spreadsheet, pdf viewer, mp3 player and even 11 games. There’s an upgraded version of this laptop that costs £119, this version comes with 2GB of onboard storage and bluetooth ! The full overview of the PCs can be found here.
So where is all this going?
With the aim of giving one laptop to every child I’m sure that in the future we will see the price of this kind of laptop fall well below £100. What I do find really interesting is not just the price of this type of laptop, it’s that these laptops are running Linux. These laptops seem to be setting a trend for Linux based OS and applications. Does this mean that if the one laptop per chld inititative takes off in the UK that children will be more familiar with Linux than with Windows? In the not too distant future is Linux going to become more popular on desktops in school classrooms, further/higher education and eventually offices ? That’s not really Microsoft bashing or even just a geeky day dream, if every child gets a Linux based PC then they will already be familiar with Linux which will be the norm to them. It’s not only laptops and PCs that are using Linux as an OS, mobile phones based on Google’s Android will be running a version of Linux too. Is the future looking like Linux will take a bigger share of the OS market, or is it only a matter of time before we see sub-£100 Windows based laptops? Given the hard drive, memory and software licensing requirements of most of the flavours of Windows and Microsoft applications, is it even possbile to create a sub-£100 Windows laptop?
Elonex won’t be shipping these laptops until June 2008, but they are taking a deposit of £10 that will ensure one is reserved for you when they do start shipping. I’ve just put a deposit down on the upgraded version, I’ll blog something when it arrives.