OLPC to offer consumers $400 two-laptop bundle
One for you, one for them
The group behind the third-world oriented $100 (ish) laptop will also offer consumers in developed countries the chance to buy its machine later this year.
OLPC's XO laptop
Dubbed Give 1 Get 1, the programme will run from 12 November and allow consumers to purchase two of the OLPC organisation's XO laptops, one for themselves and one that will be delivered to a child in a developing nation. The pair cost $400 (£200/€225), and the scheme will run for just two weeks.
The sales strategy is a direct contradiction to a statement made in January this year, when a representative from OLPC claimed that "contrary to previously published reports, OLPC has no plans to make the XO laptops available for sale to the general public".
The XO laptop is based around an AMD Geode LX-700 CPU. It also has a 7.5in LCD display, two USB ports, an SD memory card slot and Wi-Fi, and is encased in a "hard" case with built-in carry handle.
Selling the XO laptop to consumers in the developed world could be a smart move for the OLPC project. The de facto donations of wealthy westerners could help lower the costs of machines destined for poorer countries, and will surely help spread the word about the project.
And it'll also help the rest of use secure a cheapo laptop for the kids, just in time for Christmas, all in a good cause.
"won't he just trade it to a 419er for $2 worth of food"
If you'll do some basic research you'll see the answer is no. If the laptop goes away from its "base station" for a period of time it completely self destructs. Each OLPC also shows a photo of the owner on boot-upso that bullys can't take somebody else's machine after they break theirs, etc., etc. .
These things are actually well designed for their target market. They have a security model which puts Windows to shame, see: http://dev.laptop.org/git?p=security;a=blob;f=bitfrost.txt
"What OS do they run?"
They run a brand new OS called "Sugar". It's loosely based on Linux. Foisting Windows on them would be a tremendous mistake. Windows and all its maintenance troubles is the very last thing a child in a developing country needs.
A rugged little laptop I can take along when travelling (seeing as I don't have any children, but still want to support the project). Sure, it won't replace a more sophisticated machine, but for light-duty word processing and internet access for e-mail, it fits the bill quite smartly. I even love the colour.
Sign me up!
OS is Linux
Box runs a RedHat derived linux, with a desktop named Sugar or XO see:
Me, I would buy one to have a disposable laptop. Add some extra flash, repaint it brown, use it at Starbux.
Unfortunately this two week sales period seems to be 'US only' - a shame from a company that tries so hard to be global. I'd quite happily pony up the money plus shipping costs to the UK.
Mind you, I suspect there's limited value in having just one of these - one of the biggest selling points is its group features. Maybe I should suggest we change our office computers to these.
US Only, according to BBC
The BBC is reporting that this offer will only be available to US residents. I'm sure many of us would like the offer extended to other countries, as it seems an ideal way to get my hands on an innovative bit of kit and help poor kids too.