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Education Handhelds Intel Hardware Technology

Intel Aims 'One Tablet Per Child' Program at Developing Countries 93

Posted by timothy
from the take-two-of-these-call-in-the-morning dept.
retroworks writes "Digitimes Reports that 'Intel is set to push a tablet PC product codenamed StudyBook to target emerging markets. ... The StudyBook tablet PC will feature a 10-inch panel with Intel's Medfield platform and adopt dual-operating systems and will target the emerging markets such as China and Brazil. .. The StudyBook tablet PC will be released in the second half of 2012. ... Intel also hopes to push the product into regular retail channels priced below US$299.' Will this be another 'OLPC' disappointment, or is it starting to look very tough for the traditional school book industry?"
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Intel Aims 'One Tablet Per Child' Program at Developing Countries

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  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:46PM (#39612949)
    They will still be able to charge stupidly high prices, because you HAVE to get it, but they will eliminate shipping and printing costs. They just need to get the schools on board to give them lists of students, and they sue anyone who didn't buy it via approved channels.
    • by Tsingi (870990)
      Oh, is Sony in on this too?
    • The textbook guys are really more of a political problem than a technical one. There isn't any particular connection between paper printing and buying from a vendor who retains the copyright and charges accordingly, if one were to purchase a text outright and shop around for people willing to print and bind it, the per unit bids would likely be considerably lower. As you note, there also isn't any magic connection between digital distribution and low prices. If anything, nuking the used and import markets w
      • You hit it there... With cheap iterations there can be no used book market as well. "Oh, sorry... That was last semesters edition..." New test and questions every year FTW! (Their win, not ours)
  • Wrong problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KalvinB (205500) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:50PM (#39612973) Homepage

    The textbook companies love digital because they can control it and prevent resale. I bought a copy of the textbook my classroom uses for all of about $8 off Amazon. It's something like $100 new. If it were digital only, you can't buy used.

    If you want to usurp the textbook companies, you need to start providing cheap, community generated alternatives. Plenty of teachers already ignore the textbooks for the most part. There's no reason Intel and other companies couldn't provide free digital content for various topics that individual schools can then assemble to fit their curriculum.

    I'm currently working Khan Academy where appropriate into my classroom so students are more motivated to use it on their own time. But ultimately, I'd like to replace every chapter in the book with free alternative resources that teachers can use. "Infinite Math" is a really slick program that doesn't cost much that can generate problems for many levels of math which takes care of in class practice, homework and tests.

    • The textbook companies love digital because they can control it and prevent resale.

      Yeah. As if there aren't enough problems with funding for our schools as-is, now students can't even be taught basic skills without forking money over to some corporation and getting nothing but a 'license' in return. If this is the future, I think we should whip a shitty and get the hell out of here before the locals try and eat our brains or... something...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      While you can write you own math manual, the contents and exact wording of history manuals is controversial in many countries (maybe not the US), and you just can't use another manual than the one that gained a hard-earned consensus among communities / ethnies of your country.

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Wording and subjects covered in history are subjects of controversy in America too.

        Same with science. There's even controversy about MATH if you can believe that.

    • And if they were to price it at $5-$10 per student per year, not being able to resell it would be just fine.

      • But I admit that I am radical that way.

        If I buy something I want the LEGAL ability to sell that same item to someone else.

        And I want them to have the LEGAL ability to sell that item to someone else. And so on and so on.

        I'd worry that what sells for $10 today (no resale allowed!) will sell for $15 tomorrow (no resale allowed). And then $25. $50. $100. But with the same "no resale allowed" limit.

        • Ok, what if they give you "legal ability" to sell it, but update it every year and the update is still only $5-$10? You'll have the legal ability to sell something that is now nearly worthless.

          The problem is that your model is easily made obsolete, and doesn't address the very real and significant costs of producing the content. If you want quality textbooks, or books, movies, music, games, etc. the people producing them need to have a reasonable expectation (but not a guarantee) to make a profit from that

    • Fortunately it can be replaced. For example, instead of buying a math textbook on economics, you can simply use Khan Academy for free instead. When momopoly printing creates a vacuum, something with disruptive propertys will move in. See the series on The Cupcake Factory for more info on this.

      http://www.khanacademy.org/ [khanacademy.org]
      http://www.khanacademy.org/finance-economics/current-economics/v/economics-of-a-cupcake-factory [khanacademy.org]

      As affordable alternatives move into the market and become better, the entrenched market will

  • Fail. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:59PM (#39613029)
    Because "One Computer Per Child" worked so well, we're going to follow up on it with another, similar initiative? I've got a better idea: How about we build some sewers, electricity, get them some running water, and then setup some better agricultural facilities (read: big farms!), and when that's done, some factories and office buildings for them to work in? Then, with the money they make, they can not only purchase things like tablet pcs, but clothes, food, education, and health care.

    Sigh. Every one of these initiatives fail because people assume access to technology will make people more educated, and education leads to a better life. The problem is, that's not true. What leads to a better life is taking care of basic survival needs sufficiently to allow the local population time to pursue those things. Our industrial civilization evolved away from an aquarian civilization because of advancements in certain key technologies. Tablets were not one of those technologies.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      there's several ways how this is not like olpc at all. first off, this doesn't depend on someone going begging for subsidy money all over the world. there's no attached charity aspect.

      it's just a product. thee hundred bucks for a netbook without a keyboard. it's not such a silly idea and unlike olpc not dead in the water in regards of sw either(actually.. I'm assuming the dual os means windows + android).

      • Re:Fail. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by John Bokma (834313) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:14PM (#39613117) Homepage
        It's still a silly idea. I live in Mexico, and here still a lot of children can't go to school for the simple reason that they have to help their family with staying alive. How is a tablet going to fix that? I often read "with a tablet they can learn about better farming methods, etc.". If that's the case, why can't they learn such things now? To me projects like this sound too much like "Every major village needs a McDonalds so people can have access to healty fast food". Right!
        • by lkcl (517947)

          To me projects like this sound too much like "Every major village needs a McDonalds so people can have access to healty fast food". Right!

          yes, that's right! every macdonalds in every country is tasked with making sure that there is at least one national dish of that country available on its menu. in belgium, that's a very nice chef's salad. try it - it's nice! i got mine at the mcdonald's in ghent.

          • Belgium.... it's not far from the Netherlands, were I was born...
            • by lkcl (517947)

              eyy, i loved living in holland. i was there for 15 months. i can pronounce "scheveningen" with no trace of an accent :) i know many dutch people find den haag to be boring, but i loved it. the beach parties - shutupanddance.nl - were just awesome.

        • by orasio (188021)

          First, I don't think this particular initiative will be any good.
          Second, OLPC was not a failure. In Uruguay, my country, it was a great way to push forward the universality of internet access.
          I understand that Mexico has it a lot tougher, but even in the extreme case that you are a kid who works on the streets, internet access can help you a lot. For instance, you can improve your reading, learn a few extra English words to get more money from gringos, or know whether a local shelter is open tonight.

          • Uhm, yeah, a street kid needs an iPad to learn that a local shelter is open...

            How many gringos do you think are there in Mexico? I live in Xalapa, which has a population of about half a million people and I stand out. I hardly see any white people ever. If the people on the streets here had to live from a few English words and being able to read... And how do they get those magical tables? Are they going to be handed out on the streets?

            Moreover, if you want to improve reading skills and learning English, d

        • How is a tablet going to fix that? I often read "with a tablet they can learn about better farming methods, etc.". If that's the case, why can't they learn such things now?

          Because the people that come up with these hair brained ideas of saving the developing world with advanced technology are stupid. They think they can run in and throw technology at a problem and it will go away. They don't stop to think that the traditional methods will work better in this case.

          For the price of one of these tablets alone, not counting the cost of the infrastructure to support it, you could probably buy 100 or more text books. A nice book. it will last for years without batteries and

          • Yup, exactly. There are already so many ways to pass on information, even spoken or in song. While books do last in Mexico not as long as in the Netherlands, for example (moisture, termites, etc.), they certainly last at least 10x longer than a tablet.
      • by mikael (484)

        It's more like "One *Intel* Laptop per Child". Intel really missed the mobile devices market. That's rapidly approaching the bottom end of the PC market. They simply cannot afford to lose out due to the sheer number of CPU cores that the market provides (billions).

        • This is pretty much spot-on. Intel is latching on to every dumb idea to get back into the growth sectors but not having much luck. Everything they do these days is reactive.

          The funny part about this initiative isn't that Intel is scraping the bottom of the barrels now, it's that ARM-based chips are a far better value proposition for this type of thing - the very reason they're being clobbered in mobile space.

          • by mikael (484)

            It's not just Intel though. Microsoft is sponsoring application developers for their smartphones and tablets. Stanford university has provided a timeline of CPU's (but omitting ARM) for reference by engineers - I wonder if that is a deliberate patent honeypot?
            It really looks like there is this sudden panic.

      • by fmobus (831767)

        Three hundred dollars per children for a gadget is still damn expensive for most of brazilian households.

    • Sewers aren't sexy. Can't be manufactured in China (well, I suppose they could be) and more importantly, rely on the local government to organize, install and maintain it. Can't have those sorts of things go on.

    • Re:Fail. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tunapez (1161697) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:17PM (#39613131)

      They fail because, unlike your alternative suggestions, a better life is not the objective. Despite what the marketing team would like you to believe, the true objective is to score/create new consumers in new markets.

    • Don't forget AMD's 50x15 project as well. The computer in a breadbox. I saw it here in Mexico, and it was as expensive as a cheap desktop computer with much lower specs. Ah, well, you can still Donate for Haiti on 50x15.org...
    • by couchslug (175151)

      Tech helps SOME of those exposed to it, not all. It's not a binary choice between computers and the other items on your list.

      The elephant in the room is still local culture. The Third World is the way it is because of choices its humans make. Culture is what keeps people "backward", and technology can't cure all of that.

      The best gradual remedy for backward culture is INFORMATION.

      Computers are "subversive" because they help spread information. Don't give up on that if you really want change.

    • by mikael (484)

      Having mobile phones seemed to help local fishermen. Not only did it help them find the best prices for their catches, it also helped improve the distribution of food.

      Once the population has food security, they can afford to start saving money and making long term financial investments like hospitals, schools, colleges, housing and offices.

    • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:54PM (#39613261) Homepage

      what you're describing is what Professor Muhammad Yunus (joint winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize) outlines, in his book, "Creating a World without Poverty". in it he describes the best way to achieve the results that you've highlighted.

      the absolute most critical point that professor yunus makes is that you can't just go in blithely and "help" people. you *HAVE* to get them to help themselves (or at least offer them the *opportunity* to help themselves). it's none of our business - not a government and not a charity - to go dictating what's best for people. that's what's so brilliant about the micro-loans system: the PEOPLE decide what they want to do - they decide what works for them, and, out of sheer overwhelming gratitude they go for it like you just wouldn't believe.

      the loan repayment success rate is so high (over 98%) that the Grameen bank actually considers it THEIR failure if people get into difficulties. compare that to an EIGHTY SEVEN percent default rate in the west (which starts to make you appreciate that there's something desperately wrong with the western mindset). the Grameen Bank is so successful that they don't even bother retaining any lawyers. at all.

      it may interest you to know that one of the chapters of Professor Yunus's book calls for IT specialists to take the initiative and create some infrastructure that would help people to uplift themselves out of poverty. that still hasn't really happened yet, and i'm really perplexed and slightly frustrated that it hasn't happened.

      anyway, bit of an old article that's still relevant: http://www.advogato.org/article/966.html [advogato.org]

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @02:07PM (#39613307)

        ...one of the chapters of Professor Yunus's book calls for IT specialists to take the initiative and create some infrastructure that would help people to uplift themselves out of poverty. that still hasn't really happened yet, and i'm really perplexed and slightly frustrated that it hasn't happened.

        There are many initatives for this kind of thing, but it's very hard to see how the pieces fit together to produce that kind of infrastructure. There's a good reason for that too: Anything that could be cost effective as a communications medium in the 3rd world would oblitherate those company's strangehold on the current (expensive) infrastructure.

        But we're all well aware that the internet as we know it has gone to shit and we need to solve the problem of how to create a connection between two nodes that cannot be eavesdropped, does not rely on a 3rd party (central authority) to work, and can provide for anonymity. It's obvious that money is required to build an IT network, but we need some very strong controls to make sure that the interests providing that money can't later co-opt the network for their own purposes. The network needs to provide communications in a way that can't be fucked with to selectively block content.

        The only way to do that is wirelessly. Software defined radio will eventually create the network outlined above, but it will probably be "pirate radio" as it were, since every country in the west auctions off spectrum to corporations -- there is no concept of 'public use' across most of the spectrum, and the few areas that are 'public use' are actively being attacked by corporate interests who want to reclaim it.

        In short, it's a non-trivial problem to solve. People are working on it, believe me... but we're not being public about it nor are we recruiting many of the youth of today because they've grown up in a DRM-enabled world where everything is ruled by a corporation. My 15 yo sister is deathly afraid of using anything but iTunes because she fears the government will bust our door down and take her to Guantanamo bay if she downloads a .mp3, despite the fact that she knows I have 4x 1TB drives filled with 'pirate' material under my bed and download with impunity.

        Ironic that for the first time in history, it's the 'older' generation that is risking their lives and livelihood to ensure freedom for the 'current' generation... usually it's the kids we sacrifice to war. -_-

        • by lkcl (517947)

          it's fascinating to read something from someone who's clearly clued up. i have obtained a copy of the IEEE 802.22 whitespaces broadband specification, and i know of someone who would be willing to help implement it (he's an RF engineer) if the uses are limited to non-military and non-commercial. so there is potentially a *legal* way to get the range required.

          and don't worry about obliterating expensive infrastructure: the incumbent "large" telcos have *already* written off the emerging markets because nob

      • Mod parent up: "Awesomely insightful and informative: +100"

    • by owlnation (858981)

      I've got a better idea: How about we build some sewers, electricity, get them some running water, and then setup some better agricultural facilities

      These things have been done for decades. Does NOT work! All that does is create a culture of dependence. And of resentment, where middle-class patronizing aid workers and missionaries come and pat the heads of poor people and tell them how to live their lives. You want to breed terrorism, that's the way to go.

      The only aid they need is education. They have p

    • Sigh. Every one of these initiatives fail because people assume access to technology will make people more educated, and education leads to a better life.

      Who even said that? This Intel initiative is about selling more Intel chips, not about educating kids (although, I'm sure they don't mind the tax write-offs of pretending to be like a charity).

      If Intel could start selling their chips as expensive paper weights, or as expensive ornamental pendants, they'd formulate goals that are as equally far-reaching and unattainable. This is what's called "big picture" thinking. This is what the CEOs get the big bucks for.

  • Nevermind the world gives these two all of their manufacturing, they apparently need free toys as well.

    I await the 975$ Intel tablet that supplements this program, and I will laugh at it.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:20PM (#39613151) Journal
    It's hard not to be pessimistic about this scheme. I'm sure that Intel has the engineering muscle and the cash to at least shove some units out the door(if not actually hit their targeted TDPs and battery lives) and the hardware might even be an interesting alternative to some of the present ARM SoC tablets at a similar price point; but that won't really solve the basic problem:

    Actually turning computers into educational results, even in the wealthy subsections of wealthy industrialized countries where access to computers has been ubiquitous for a number of years now, has turned out to be difficult. Not necessarily impossible(and certainly a boon for the nonzero-but-hard-to-replicate autodidactic success stories); but definitely not obvious, and generally not happening in places where reasonable amounts of educational success were already being achieved by conventional methods.

    It is likely that digital distribution technologies will, at some point in the reasonably near future, firmly undercut print on total price(ie. counting the units needed to read the stuff, and the infrastructure, not just the marginal cost of somebody with a computer and an internet connection snarfing Project Gutenberg), which would be a boon to anybody who has plans for producing material that don't involve paying substantial per-unit license fees; but that only brings computers to parity with print(also, it is fairly likely that sub-$100 e-ink or super-cheapy LCD devices will undercut on price well before fancy tablets do).

    Shipping aggressively cheap and robust hardware is certainly a nontrivial engineering challenge, and a necessary condition of any educating-the-poor-with-computers plan; but we already have a test case, wealthy denizens of the developed world, where the hardware and infrastructure exist and we've been able to watch the pedagogical techniques and software in action. The results have not been... overly encouraging...
    • by symbolset (646467) *

      I think this is a reaction to the DataWind Aakash tablet [androidadvices.com]. The Aakash is a 7" Android slate that's ruggedized. The original one was sold for $35 to India, for school children. It had a resistive display and wasn't quite as acceptable as they were hoping for. A newer model is in production with a capacitive display at the same price. They are having some political issues with follow-through, but they will probably sort that out.

      The tablets come with a K-12 education content pack localized for the region

      • Well, the DataWind Aakash actually came in at a cost to the govt of slightly over $50, not $35, that's the subsidized price. Still, that's a long way below Intel's $299 price target. Sure, Intel is talking about a 10" tablet, with more power, but it's a huge price differential. And for a device that is intended to be used by school children, price and durability are two key factors, both of which Intel has missed.

        • One has to wonder if Intel is banking on substantial subsidizing going on, or whether they are looking at the higher edge of 'developing'. $300 undercuts iPads if the other specs check out; but isn't very aggressive at all for a future goal by the standards of assorted android tablets of varying quality, available now, or assorted netbooks, packing Intel silicon even, available now.

          Given Intel's preferences for nice margins, and ongoing woes at hitting low power targets, along with the horridness of real
        • by symbolset (646467) *

          Intel has a "cannibalization" problem. If they push an IA tablet that costs $50 they're not going to sell as much of their product into $500 laptops. This is actually the vulnerability the new mobile paradigm is attacking them through.

          They also have a Windows problem. The minimum requirements for Windows is much higher, which means a higher BOM, which means a higher retail cost. But Intel's OEM partners are for the most part dependent on their income from Windows PCs to maintain their method of busines

      • As I noted, I'm reasonably certain that the replacement of paper texts by electronics, for most purposes, is likely to be a relatively near-future phenomenon. It depends somewhat on your purpose. Amazon's pilot studies with Kindle textbooks at some American university received tepid reviews, too unwieldy for margin notes/highlighting/quickly finding your place; but the convenience and portability factors of ereader devices are said to make owners of such bigger readers of texts where that isn't a problem. P
  • No chumps left behind.
  • Quote from SJ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#39613217)

    This is a pertinent quote from Steve Jobs on this OLPC-like programs which end up failing every time.

    I used to think that technology could help education. I've probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I've had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What's wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.

    It's a political problem. The problems are sociopolitical.

    So yeah, good luck to Intel.

  • Given how Windows 8 seems to be more geared towards tablets, this tablet would be perfect for that platform. Load it up w/ Windows 8, and then at least, people don't need to worry about apps compatibility.

    No need to bother w/ dual OSs - as far as Unix based tablets go, ARM pretty much has it sewn up.

  • Given the price of ARM based boards (and some MIPS based ones) are below $25, run Linux really well and have 100+ factories churning them out in at least one area of China, I think Intel have over cooked their target price.

    See: http://opensource.com/life/12/1/linux-hardware-race-tiniest-and-cheapest-15-cheap [opensource.com]

    Clearly, the display will be a big cost, and integrating it as one system will add more cost, but it feels like Intel will be considerably more expensive at their published price points. I'll guess a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    proprietary technology needed for reading: end of civilization, i dont need to purchase a product to read a paper book. my brain has all the image recognition and translation software i need. until we have a universal, nonproprietary set of tech standards for which all electronically published material can be read, civilization is in peril

  • will target the emerging markets such as China and Brazil [...] priced below US$299

    Ah, the irony! Selling cucumbers to the gardener, ice to Eskimos and coal to Newcastle.

    I bought last week one Android tablet for less than $200, postage (by UPS express) included. From mainland China [aliexpress.com].
    I'm pretty sure Brazil (being a good chum with China in BRICS and dropping USD as the trade currency [wikipedia.org] ) would be able to buy at much cheaper prices.

  • If they want to get one in the hands of every child in countries like China and Brazil, their price point is at least 4X too high. It has to be scaled back.

  • if you want an cheap toy for poor family ,leave it to the Chinese factories, they can do better and with lower price . but the problem is does people really want this, i don't see this in my country(China).
  • exactly how do the economics make sense in the third world if you can't even do this in the first world?

    Think it through, twits.

    • by kakur (233321)

      I have to agree with this sentiment. Where is the 'one laptop per child' program in America? Not all of our own children have a laptop or a tablet, and we actually have the infrastructure to effect such a program.

      Sometimes I wonder if these programs are just a veil over the real problems third world countries have, like lack of food or good water, because providing technology that they often can't effectively use.

      If we really wanted to help these countries we'd help them build real infrastructure and prov

      • by kakur (233321)

        thats what I get for posting at 6am.

        Because providing technology that they often can't effectively use, is easier than fixing their real problems.

      • Meh... if recent events have taught us anything, nation building as it is currently understood is counter productive.

        You don't fix a country by giving them stuff or even by going there and helping them. It's just exploited by the very elements in the society that have kept them poor and disorganized for all these years.

        Someone we have to understand with all these countries is that there are reasons why they're poor, hungry, and primitive. It's not like we've been hording our knowledge of clean drinking wate

        • Call that cynical... that's my understanding of the situation.

          You sir, maybe cynical but you are also very correct. i will use Africa as an example simply because it is the one I've been harping on for years. "Africa's problems, are African problems. Let the Africans solve them."

          Of course when I say this people call it racist and start thumping on the book that says Africa wouldn't be in the situation if it wasn't for colonization. Yes that maybe true but doesn't change anything. Colonization ended last century, and we have to think of the now. Nothing the we

          • Mhhhmm... africa was vulnerable to colonization because it was screwed up. The Europeans while having advantages could only exploit places that were political basket cases.

            Five hundred Spaniards didn't bring down the Inca Empire because they were military geniuses. They literally just grabbed the king which they were allowed to get near with their full strength and hold the whole kingdom hostage.

            Herp derp.

            Permutations on that were repeated around the world. The europeans looked for weaknesses... they were o

            • In any case, I wish none of these people ill. Quiet the opposite. I hope they advance and solve their problems. I just won't condescend to believe I or my society has the power to fix their problems in a culturally appropriate way.

              I'm pretty much the same way. I post worse case situations to get people to think. Most of the time, they don't think go spout out whatever is the first nonsense thing that pops in their head.

              There is also a lot of hypocritical thinking in these "save the people from themselves" movements. You see if we rush in with guns blazing and take over and supplant the native culture that is racist and colonization and is evil. They don't stop to think that a great deal of the problems comes from these native

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