Nicholas Negroponte - chairman of the non-profit One Laptop Per Child project - has thrown his not-inconsiderable weight behind India's plans for a $35
computer, offering complete access to the technology behind the XO range of low-cost computing devices.
According to an open letter published on the OLPC Blog
, Negroponte "applauds Minister Kapil Sibal for promoting a $35 tablet,
" and states that "access to a connected laptop or tablet is the fastest way to enable universal learning.
As there is considerable overlap between the two ventures - with OLPC having originally formed with the aim to produce a sub-$100 laptop for developing nations - Negroponte goes on to pledge to "provide India with free and open access to all of our technology, and our experience with 2 million laptops, in over 40 countries, in over 25 languages.
In order to reassure those behind India's device that his company means no harm, Negroponte indicates that "as a humanitarian and charitable organisation, we do not compete - we collaborate, and invite you to do so, too.
Negroponte closes his letter by urging the Indian government to "send a team to MIT and OLPC at your earliest convenience so we can share our results with you.
With the $35 device confirmed as a tablet or slate form factor gadget and set to feature full Internet connectivity - where available - it's clear that Negroponte could have as much to learn from the Indian project as its engineers have to learn from OLPC.
Are you pleased to see Negroponte putting his technology at the disposal of the Indian government, or is he simply trying to gain some publicity for a project which appears to be increasingly redundant as nations opt to develop their own technology rather than buy in to foreign projects - no matter how cheap they may be? Share your thoughts over in the forums