The disposable laptop computer is finally here: IBM (Lenovo) Thinkpads are $600 with 3/4 GB of RAM, wireless networking, and a 14″ display. I’ve always liked the Thinkpads because of the TrackPoint, the little red button in the middle of the keyboard, which I find much easier to use than the trackpads standard on most other laptops. Thinkpads are also remarkably resistant to dropping and other abuse. The only thing that one could say against this configuration is that it doesn’t include a CD/DVD burner. So the price of a decent laptop is now converging with the price of an expensive cell phone. I wrote about this possibility about one year ago: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2004/09/09. Will people still want to pay $1000+ for a laptop that they will have to guard from theft and impact when they could just buy a Thinkpad for $600 now and replace it two years from now for $450?