I was fortunate enough to travel to the NECC conference in San Diego last year. The Keynote Speaker was Nicholas Negopronte, whom I had admired from his work at MIT and his book Being Digital. He has headed up the One Laptop Per Child Project - AKA The $100 laptop. His idea is to put a laptop in every child's hand, and is starting with 3rd World Countries. While I was at NECC I got to play with a prototype of the machine. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles - but it has definite potential. If we are starting to think of the Internet as the new OS, why would you need a powerful machine?
It was announced this week that the One Laptop project is starting a new program. Buy a laptop from them for $400 and they will donate one to a needy child oversees (an you get a $200 tax right off). There have been thousands of people wanting to play with this new laptop and I think this was a smart marketing and fundraising tool - but doesn't it take away from part of the purpose of the machine?
I plan on writing a bit more on this subject later - including some pros on cons that I've seen as well as others.