OLPC bumps prices, adds Windows capability
The $175 '$100 laptop'
The $100 laptop at the heart of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) scheme is now going to cost $175, the organisation has announced. The machine, which originally was to run its own open source operating system, will also be capable of running Windows.
OLPC is a non-profit organisation, set up by the former head of MIT's Media Lab Nicholas Negroponte, with the goal of providing children in developing nations with laptop computers. It signed a deal with Quanta Computer to produce the machines, under which Quanta would only take a $3 profit on each box it shipped.
Now, OLPC has said that Quanta has been working with Microsoft to develop a version of the machine that will run Windows. According to reports, it is likely to be the $3 version of the OS that Microsoft announced last week.
The addition of the Windows capability is not the reason for the price hike. The cost of raw materials, particularly nickel, has pushed the cost up, OLPC explained.
Negroponte originally said his organisation would start manufacturing when it had orders for between five million and 10 million laptops. Although many nations have signed on, the cash to back the orders has not been forthcoming. Despite this, Negroponte is still optimistic that production will begin this October. ®
Re: Response to Keith Murray
"Please do visit Africa".
Let's see... I am not African or even of African descent (well, after a few thousand years of cross-population, who can tell for certain ^_^) but...
Both my parents grew up in Zaire and I spent 7 years of my childhood in Algeria (not quite 3rd world, but by God they're trying hard to sink to it). So while I have not steeped myself in the squalor of the slums, I think I have "visited" Africa. And frankly, most of the problems I have seen with poverty in African nations (please note, there are exceptions, I know) had more to do with the Goverment trying to "keep up with the Western Joneses" instead of building up their local infrastructure (or doing it badly. During my sejourn in Algiers, I saw the same road being ripped up four times in less than a year - once to install new power lines, once for the water lines, once for gas and once for fixes to the sewage system. This was a major commercial road between Dar El Beidha - the airport - and the city centre... why they couldn't schedule things so they only had to rip up the road ONCE, I never understood... and I was 8!)
So yes, lack of proper drinking water and sanitation is a problem in Africa... but it is exarcebated by idiotic governmental practices.
The reason of hunger
I know that many African countries suffering from hunger is not about the lack of food but the lack of literacy and democracy. Even my country could be starving if we were administrated by dictators and warmongers (...). This little project might trigger something and be one of the ways to reach unbiased information.
Or you can just google it and read some material like http://www.state.gov/e/rls/rm/2006/74821.htm
Response to Keith Murray
I am a regular reader of OLPC website and even send a inquiry about buying a Laptop for my Kid and I do live in Africa .
I doubt anyone here is worried about M$ running on a Hardware , it runs on everything in earth where there is a market opportunity.
"What will children learn with an OLPC computer? They will learn to talk to each other across a network."
Who will build this network ? My friend you are not in a UK/US Village . Some of them don't even have a building . You intend to build Network based on thin Air?
"They will learn to find information on the internet."
What would be the cost of Bringing Internet to this people ? They dont even have electricity , water , money , and sometime food.
"They will, as children naturally do, learn from each other. Children in different villages will work together on projects without ever meeting face to face."
This is a Joke isn't ? You talk like you are in Cisco Sanjose Campus .. Please do visit Africa .
"And because they may have their laptops outside of the classroom, they may be able to learn things that interest them on their own time."
Please do come with your 300$ Mobile Phone and try using it in a Public street, and in a car with windows open. See how long your Mobile is yours.
"Some teachers may use on line lesson plans to teach children math. Or geography. Or how to dig a well. Or clean up sewage so that cholera can be avoided. Or build a community center. Or ask for help after a disaster. All of these are available to everyone right now with an Internet connection"
What costs more the On line lesson or the device to access it . As I told you before much of the on line lessons are multimedia intensive and this toys can't run them .
And there are better ways to deliver multimedia lessons without being online & connected . I hear Mexico runs about 6 TV channels focused on Education and Archives everything for Online use .
Please ask Mr. Negroponte, stop being a Media savvy, catchy words like this is not about laptop and it is about education is not going to change the final outcome of this project .
And you will never able to get the Pre-booking cash commitment from Governments (Procurement regulations /Parliament's Approvals / corruption-unless you are willing to bribe ) unless you manage to convince the WB /UN guys to pay for this on behalf of the governments . And if you donate it still it will be a short lived project .
I would wonder why a commercial company like DELL/Toshiba can't offer similar things to Governments. Pay now and when we reach 6 million orders , we can deliver a laptop at 100$ . I am sure for that kind of cash commit and volumes , any commercial company can do it better than you .
First it was M$ and now it is CitiBank .. two of the America's Major profit oriented companies are getting involved in a Education Project for Third world countries.. I see a reason ...It is no more a Education Project .
If you want to sell electricity build Power stations at free of cost, if you want sell Air time build Telco's at Free of costs (the Chinese are doing that across Africa), if you want to sell cheap used Cars build roads (Japan does that across Africa ), and now you want lure the Africans into Computers ..I see Companies see a potential for selling computers & networking gear .
I see you have done a wonderful job in the OS front which people haven't done for years , develop that further with good academic content , develop translation tools, find ways to package it nicely .(Hear of a good idea, a guy running Off line website In India using buses to refresh content ).
Think MIT.. Think ... Do something innovative.. Don't get into politics ...