The face of the $100 laptop [Business Week]

The face of the $100 laptop
Business Week features a long story on Sugar, the breakthrough graphical user interface on the so-called $100 laptop. User testing only started this February when about 2500 beta test machines were shipped to beta testing countries, an approach that received a lot of criticism.

“The so-called $100 laptop that’s being designed for school children in developing nations is known for its bright green and white plastic shell, its power-generating hand crank, and for Nicholas Negroponte, the technology futurist who dreamed it up and who tirelessly promotes it everywhere from Bangkok to Brasilia. What has not received much attention is the graphical user interface—the software that will be the face of the machine for the millions of children who will own it. In fact, the user interface, called Sugar, may turn out to be one of the more innovative aspects of a project that has already made breakthroughs in mesh networking and battery charging since Negroponte unveiled the concept two years ago.

Sugar offers a brand new approach to computing. Ever since the first Apple Macintosh was launched in 1984, the user interfaces of personal computers have been designed based on the same visual metaphor: the desktop. Sugar tosses out all of that like so much tattered baggage. Instead, an icon representing the individual occupies the center of the screen; “zoom” out like a telephoto lens and you see the user in relation to friends, and finally to all of the people in the village who are also on the network.”

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  1. […] Got this off Experientia, another one of the few blogs I read that has anything worth reading about UX. So you all remember Negroponte’s famous $100 laptop they’re designing and building over at MIT? Gotta have a user interface somewhere right? It’s called Sugar and it scraps the Desktop metaphor. Instead, the user is the Desktop. Don’t get it? Go read. […]

  2. […] Il Business Week dedica un articolo a Sugar, l’innovativa interfaccia del cosiddetto $100 laptop. Il computer diffuso nei paesi in via di sviluppo, infatti, è dotato di un’interfaccia grafica innovativa ed intuitiva, adatta ai giovani utenti che si troveranno ad operare non all’interno della consueta “scrivania”, ma piuttosto in un villaggio all’interno del quale possono relazionarsi con i componenti del network. […]

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