Cheap computers + cheap programs + Internet access = instant business impact.
Think about it: Nearly one billion people worldwide are currently connecting to the Internet, making it a part of their personal and professional lives. But the world has an estimated 2 billion more people who could conceivably join the cyberworld if computers reached the US$100 range and Internet access were closer to free.
So the formula really should be:
Minicomputers + open source + WiFi = instant business impact
Note that "open source" is not a specific type of program, but a methodology for creating new programs. Take "mash-ups," the current trend of combining openly-accessible source codes to create a new service/product. A good example is combining Google Maps with real estate listings to create maps of houses for sale or rent. The point here is that open source allows for rapid recombination of tools to create new ones.
Rather than continue the discussion and analysis, why not head to a couple of websites and use them as starting points for your own brainstorming session?
First, head for the amazing Wikipedia and look at the extensive entry for the Simputer. Then hop over to Emily Chang's eHub, a growing collection of open access tools and mash-ups. Then think hard about what you see there.
Because actually, the formulas listed above are incomplete. The complete version really is:
Minicomputer + open source + WiFi + IDEA + EXECUTION = instant & long term business impact.
How much of an impact depends on many factors, but get the first four right, make great execution your final focus and you will go from "impact" to "profits." And remember that profits are often not counted in coins, but in results.
The Jenius Has Spoken.