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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?