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The $98 Linux Laptop

I’ve long been a fan of the OLPC XO, the original “$100 laptop.” It had such a broad influence that it spawned the entirely new product category of “netbooks,” and even though the XO itself still costs more than $100 (though falling), one of those it influenced has just broken that barrier.

Combine the drive to break the hundred-dollar barrier with the power of sinofacture, and the $98 Linux laptop, the HiVision miniNote, is here. (While the capitalization pattern of its name is nearly inscrutable, the machine is significant for its other aspects.)

One of the most important features of netbooks that helps them remain so low-cost is they usually run open source Linux operating systems (a retail copy of Windows is generally more expensive than these entire systems) as part of a complete stack of open source programs.

They also exclude unnecessary hardware: “HiVision makes the world’s cheapest Linux laptop at $98 using a new cheaper MIPS based processor, WiFi, 1GB flash storage, it runs Linux, has 3 USB ports, Ethernet, SDHC card reader, audio in and out, voice-chat, skype, multi-tabbed Firefox browser support and Abiword for word processing.”

Follow the link above to see a video of this new netbook as well.

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