Forget the OLPC: Here's a 30-children-per-desktop solution

Consider the similarity between Angelina Jolie and the One Laptop Per Child project.

True costs (and false reporting?)

Still, the economic incentives are compelling. Schools already get substantial discounts from software vendors, especially Microsoft. For instance, Pace said an academic copy of Windows costs just US$49 for his district, while leasing Microsoft Office costs just US$16 per year.

Prices are even lower in developing nations, where schools may qualify for Microsoft's US$3 software bundle, which includes Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2007.

But those costs can be reduced even more if schools choose to buy only a single software license per PC, rather than one for every student workstation as most software licenses technically require. Dukker said that NComputing is aware of the issue, but isn't in a position to enforce other vendors' licensing agreements.

"It's not our bailiwick, though we assume our partners are doing this right," he said.

Of course, the cost of software can be eliminated through the use of Linux and open-source applications, which about 40 percent of NComputing's customers -- including most of its nonschool users -- are using, Dukker said.

The rest of NComputing's users are on Windows, which can be even run on Mac hardware through virtualization software such as Bootcamp or Parallels, Dukker said, though that is not popular.

NComputing is also "green." Dukker claims that schools using the 30-user L200 device can make back the purchase price within one year on electricity savings alone.

The flipside is that schools used to holding onto their old PCs may need to upgrade to support NComputing, Dukker said, who recommends PCs no more than 2 to 3 years old.

And while schools can cut down on the number of PCs they use, they still need a keyboard, monitor and computer mouse for each student. That's not a big deal, said Visalia's Smith, citing the vast quantity of unused monitors and peripherals it can recycle.

The future

Beyond targeting schools, Dukker's goal is to start licensing NComputing's chip to be built into devices such as flat-screen monitors and cell phones.

As he sees it, PCs are only going to keep getting more powerful. Enabling other devices to cheaply and conveniently tap into that unused reservoir of processing power only makes sense. And it could allow hardware makers that license NComputing's technology to differentiate their products sufficiently to charge more and maintain their profits.

"We can help re-establish profitability to the ecosystem," he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?