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Intel Hardware

Intel to Make Cheap Flash Laptop 202

sien writes "In a similar vein to the One Laptop Per Child computer Intel have announced that they intend to produce a similar cheap laptop using flash storage.The entry of Intel and the declaration that Microsoft intend to get Windows running on the One Laptop Per Child machine suggests that there may be a general market for a cheap, robust laptop without hard drive or optical storage."
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Intel to Make Cheap Flash Laptop

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  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @11:29AM (#17129928)
    Intel and Microsoft are big corporations. Big corporations:

    1. can't afford to take chances when there's even slight chance a startup may become a viable competitor
    2. can afford money-wise and resource-wise to react to even the silliest of those potential competitors

    I'm not saying OLPC is silly, but I'm just saying: don't make a big deal of it. Intel/MS just want their options covered.

    Let's not forget that cheap computers for poor countries were made long before OLPC (and all failed) and will continue to be made. The least thing: it'll be fun to watch the development in this "market".
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @11:31AM (#17129974) Homepage Journal
    And the Final Jeopardy question is:

    Q: What do I really need in a laptop?

    I figure NX, vnc, GoToMyPC or one if its friends, or any other remote-screen system will let me get to my office or home PC from the road or around the campus and really, that's all I need in a laptop. Of course, it should have local audio/camera for videoconferencing and local printing for when I need it.

    As far as truly local/disconnected operation goes, I need lightweight viewers for Microsoft Office so I can read and print files and do presentations, a notepad for taking notes, and maybe some games to keep my mind sharp when I'm in a motel room out in the boondocks. I'll need a small amount of local read-write storage for these files, which should auto-sync with the office machine upon connect.

    Just make sure I can add on new wireless technologies as they become available.
  • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @11:42AM (#17130188) Journal
    Windows CE Licensing [windowsfordevices.com], you would probably want 'core' ($15) as it comes with Word and the other goodies ...
  • by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @11:59AM (#17130484)
    The $100 laptop doesn't cost $100. It costs $150 and that price, according to the article, doesn't include shipping. OLPC would be manufactured in China, while Intel plans to do it (at least the final stages) in Brazil. Think jobs & additional demand for the better education these computers would be providing.

    I'm not making the final judgement yet, I haven't even seen the complete tech specs for it, or results of the trials.
  • by yabHuj ( 10782 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @12:01PM (#17130526) Homepage
    No: Flash is more expensive per GB when measured in quantities.

    Yes: look at PDA memorey requirements, or PCs just for Mail, Web and a bit of letter writing - there 1 GB is plenty. And in Flash still cheaper than the cheapest HD (80GB or where is the cheapest HD nowadays?)
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @12:15PM (#17130830) Homepage Journal
    You aren't going to fix the biggest power draws, that would be the CPU and screen. The Pmax of a notebook hard drive is 2.5 W, typical power draw may be 1W. For a typical notebook, if you make a drive that doesn't take any power, I think you would increase battery life increase by maybe ten minutes.

    I have not had a problem with hard drive noise. My notebooks hard drives are nearly silent if they make any noise audible to me at all. The CPU fans are a little louder, but still that's not very loud.
  • Mobile phones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rob Kaper ( 5960 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @12:18PM (#17130874) Homepage
    Within a decade, mobile phones will be the primary computing device for the majority of the market. Yes, you'd connect it to a docking station at home and at the office so there's a proper input device (keyboard/mouse) and output device (TV/monitor).. but for 90% mobile devices will be powerful enough to handle e-mail, the interweb and calendar/groupware functionality.

    Heck, even as a software engineer the only reason I use a laptop is the lack of a proper Wifi, keyboard and screen for my phone.
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot...kadin@@@xoxy...net> on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @12:35PM (#17131216) Homepage Journal
    Just out of curiosity, were you using the CF as swap space? I can imagine it wouldn't last long under those conditions, particularly if the system was also RAM-starved (or any situation where RAM working set). But as a regular hard drive, it seems like it ought to be okay for a while (though I suppose you'd want to disable logging, too, as much as possible). How fast were your systems failing?

    I've often wondered how CF or other limited-write systems handle swapping and memory-management. It seems like it introduces a whole new set of trade-offs; in addition to the usual speed vs. cost and speed vs. space on disk trade-offs, you also have to deal with speed vs. system life.
  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @01:23PM (#17132308) Homepage Journal
    Agriculture is one of the more intensively computerised industries out there right now. I am in agriculture and we use computers all over. In the house, in the buildings, in the equipment, and having a lot of it net enabled is a big help. I mean there is an A to Z list of where computers are useful and are being used in everything from the backyard garden to the highest levels of commercial production. There's some pretty darn neat stuff too, for example, we just bought a few truckloads of corn for our beefers. The guys we get it from use an autonomous tractor to work their fields. That's right, no humans drive the thing, GPS and a computer does it once the field is surveyed once to define the limits and shape (by driving the perimeter once), a computer analyses it and determines the most efficient planting and harvesting pattern, and then goes and does it with little human intervention. Where we live part of the operation is poultry and the houses are heavily computerised, everything, temperature, feeding, watering, electricity supply for all of that, all mostly automated now, and net enabled so it can be remotely monitored and trouble-shot if needs be.

    If I was joe farmer in the developing world, I would want at least one computer and net access, for the weather, looking up parts and suppliers, monitoring the markets, learning about new techniques and improving technology, etc, etc. All good stuff and useful. Heck, I use the net just to look up weeds to see what they are sometimes, or to look up more exotic seeds to try for instance, or to look at new breeds of animals, etc. I've ordered a lot of old weird parts for machinery online, because that is a lot more efficient than driving around dealer to dealer. I use the net all the time for stuff like that.
  • Re:Mobile phones (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @01:45PM (#17132792)
    My major issue with cell phones as computers is that you can't do anything on a cell phone without paying for it. It's pretty much entirely controlled by the company who sells you service. Also, cell phone batteries aren't quite good enough to do the wi-fi thing like a computer can, although that might be better in the time frame you've proposed.
  • by tylernt ( 581794 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @02:03PM (#17133160)
    It should be possible to write a Linux kernel or fs patch for a "flash-mode" not unlike the existing patches for laptop-mode. Laptop-mode saves up disk writes (meaning that Bad things happen if you should lose power) and then commits them all in one go. I'm sure you could tune that same idea for flash storage. You would probably need some code in the filesystem so that if an application truncated and then rewrote a file, you could examine which sectors didn't change between the old and new versions, and only commit the changed sectors to flash.

    If anyone remembers the old Psion Series 3 handheld computer, it came with removable flash disks and features addressing the flash issue were integrated into the OS. Whenever you made a "change" to a file, the changes were merely appended to the end of the existing file (thus requiring, say, only a 1K write on a 100K file instead of the full 100K being rewritten). If I remember correctly, you could periodically run a shrink operation to commit the changes back into the main file and thus free up the space wasted by the change logs.

    Man I miss my Psion...

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!