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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?