OLPC wants $200 for its $100 laptop, please
And sells 100,000 units to Uruguay
The $100 laptop, designed to save the children of developing countries from a world without technology, might have to be rebranded. The machine's price tag has now hit the $200 mark.
Anyone feeling altruistic can purchase the machines in lots of 10,000 and say where they'd like them to be sent. Smaller donations can also be made, but for a higher cost of up to $299 per laptop. The extra cash will fund yet more laptops to be sent to the place OLPC deems neediest.
But according to the One Laptop Per Child organisation, although the initial hope was that the machines could be built for $100 apiece, the build cost is now up to at least $175 or, according to Reuters, $188.
By our calculations, there is at least $12 unaccounted for between the selling price of $200 and Reuters' estimate, possibly more, but at the time of writing OLPC has not confirmed where those spare dollars are going.*
In slightly better news for the organisation, the government of Uruguay has placed a firm order for 100,000 laptops which it will give to children aged between six and 12 years. The deal also leaves open the option for the authorities to buy a further 300,000 machines by 2009, which would see every child in the country equipped with one of the lime-green windups.
Although plenty of countries have expressed interest, the foundation has had trouble extracting the cash to follow the handshakes and photo opportunities. Founder Nicholas Negroponte told the New York Times: "I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a cheque written." ®
*Update: OLPC contacted us to confirm that the laptop costs, on average, $188 to build. it added:
"The cost can vary by country as some countries request additional features. Also, the costs fluctuates depending on the costs of the materials – particularly, nickel. Give 1 Get 1 is a charitable giving program. All donations go the support of the One Laptop per Child Foundation."