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Over the last year, I have become increasingly interested in low-cost technologies. I have explored the potential of $50 smartphones and am currently researching sub-$200 computers. I am always amazed by the capability of these devices. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on phones and laptops anymore. In fact, you can get similar functionality to thousand dollar technologies for fractions of the cost. This is how my sister’s technology footprint has inspired me

Currently my youngest sister is using a smartphone and laptop that cost her less than $300…combined! Specifically, she is using a Blu Vivo XL that she got for $99 on its release weekend sale and her laptop is an Asus C300 Chromebook that she got for $199 from Amazon. So, $298 covers all of her technology needs as a college student. This blows my mind! When I think about all of the students who spend $2000+ on Macs or windows PCs and $700+ on iPhones or Android phones. Not to mention if the student owns a $300+ iPad or Android tablet. Together, this easily approaches $3000, ten times what my sister is currently using. As Jessie J & B.o.B would say, it’s not about the money.

Now, I understand my sister is a special case. Some students require expensive laptops to run specialty software such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Final Cut Pro X for their coursework. And studying programmers may need to setup Virtual Machines or use their iPhones to test apps they are creating. But all this aside, I am reminded how we are moving toward a cloud computing world where users do not necessarily need the most powerful equipment to be productive. Instead, they are able to utilize devices that are simply good enough to work.

This opens new possibilities for what users can accomplish on a budget. When more affordable devices are assisted by cloud computers and can accomplish the same tasks as expensive computers, technology has become more accessible and socioeconomic barriers have been lowered.

Nonetheless, I am jealous of my sister, because her technology footprint is more aligned with what I believe will be the future. She will continue to inspire me in this way because she will be more knowledgeable of productivity workflows that will become more critical over the next decade.