I'll take a clue for $100 please, Bill

Wow, is Bill Gates really that out of touch, or does he just not get it?

By now we’ve heard that a $100 laptop is under development now for mass distribution to children in 3rd world countries. The key features of this device is that it doesn’t require proprietary software to run and it has a crank for power.

But Bill says…

“The last thing you want to do for a shared use computer is have it be something without a disk … and with a tiny little screen,” Gates said at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in suburban Washington.

“Hardware is a small part of the cost” of providing computing capabilities, he said, adding that the big costs come from network connectivity, applications and support.

Hello?!? Does he think the crank is a fashion statement? This computer will be used in countries where people may go weeks or months without getting near a power outlet. Maybe they can swing by the local CompUSA to pick up an extra battery or two?!? What does he think “developing country” means…they don’t have McDonald’s yet?

I had absolutely no interest in the Origami Project when I saw it. If I’m going to carry around something that big, I might as well get a decent ultra-portable. It’s too big to be a PDA-type device, too small and underpowered to be a real computer. Apple already learned this lesson years ago with the Newton.