Laptops

$100 laptop doubles in price but generates first large order

The $100 laptop project has gotten twice as good, or at least twice as expensive, as the Cambridge Foundation has not achieved the economies of scale that it thought it might at the beginning of the project. Still, $200 for a laptop is an incredible price, and the project may include Microsoft in its contributor's list.

The $100 laptop project has gotten twice as good, or at least twice as expensive, as the Cambridge Foundation has not achieved the economies of scale that it thought it might at the beginning of the project. Still, $200 for a laptop is an incredible price, and the project may include Microsoft in its contributor's list as the software giant is trying to tweak XP OS to run on the low cost laptops, which use flash memory instead of a hard drive. One of the features that will also help keep costs low for users is the two watts of power consumption, as opposed to 30-40 watts for most existing laptops. The laptops are scheduled to go into production in November and will be manufactured in China, though far fewer will be produced than the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) group had originally hoped.

'$100 laptop' hits $200 (CNET News.com)

The group has received its first large order of 100,000 machines to be sold to the government of Uruguay for distribution to schoolchildren. Uruguay has also said that they may buy 300,000 more of the low-cost computers to complete their goal of providing one machine to each child in the country. The group is actively trying to get governments around the world to live up to the handshake deals that were made over the past 18 months, because it doesn't have the funds for a large-scale manufacturing run. One innovative plan is to sell the laptops to the general public for $400, using the profits to pay for one laptop to donate to impoverished regions.

One Laptop per Child gets first order (Tectonic)

Group seeks buyers for low-cost laptops (Boston Globe)

In my opinion, this project might be one of the best ways to address the issues of education and poverty in developing countries. Educating the masses in those countries will empower them to be able to get jobs, start businesses (especially with the growth of "micro-loans" in the developing world), and pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty. Do you think that this project is a worthwhile venture? Would you be willing to buy a low-cost laptop in order to have one donated to a poverty-stricken youngster?

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58 comments
pat
pat

American kids need them too! We have thousands (millions?) of impoverished kids here in the US that need them as well. I'd be more inclined to buy one if one would be donated to a child here. Then, when OUR kids have them - start donating to other countries.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

would to be buy 2 at 400, one stays in America, one goes to a foreign country.

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

Would you or do you know anyone who would purchase a laptop for $400 in order to have one donated to the developing world? Do you know any companies that would be willing to purchase some of these machines to donate?

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

No to both questions. Lets get rid of poverty in the US before sending money to other countries. The best way to do this is to reign in greedy companies who are outsourcing labor/etc and bring the jobs back home.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Although recycling would probably better serve kids in the USA. If I remember the design parameters of the XO; stealing it would do no good as the security system built in must have an authorized server or another XO in order to communicate; and I suppose it could be set up as a boot requirement also.

metalmonkey
metalmonkey

Sorry but even my 5 years old son is used to more speed and storage than that. I would much rather donate money straight to the foundation than purchase this horrible laptop at double the price.

H3LPU
H3LPU

My children will be using the same hardware as the less fortunate children. Is this the beginning of equal opportunity? And at $200 it suites my budget very nicely, and I get to help another child.

messegster
messegster

I am one of the kids from developing countries, so how can I get or buy a lap top for $100? thanks in advance!

dbotello
dbotello

I would purchase three of these, followed by once recieved I would install Ubuntu on them, F***ing windows!

JCitizen
JCitizen

They would probably have to put something like Windows CE on it, to get it to fit with an actually quite efficient design such as this!

JCitizen
JCitizen

from my research your post generated; thanks! This looks like a more likely candidate - since the XO project has been working with Gates since early inception I would think this would fit into the project design parameters. With ClassMatePC taking off, the pressure to expedite would be increasing, I would think. Now that XO's are on order maybe things will shape up. Funny - I don't remember any mention in the news of what OS is supposed to be shipped with the 17,000 XOs on foreign project orders now?

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

fits in as little as 200Mb of install depending on drivers etc..but then, Embedded XP is just Windows CE 2.

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

'Nuff said. Dumb idea.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Kids need books AND computers to make it in todays world. Would you deny your own kids computers? And did you ever stop to think how many books a kid can access on the internet? Come on...open your brain and use it for more then holding your hat..

jonathan.202518000
jonathan.202518000

One of these gadgets can supply up to 100 Books already loaded depending on format, that said lets look at the cost implications of a standard book in South Africa compared to a laptop at say $200. $200 equals roughly R1000, one Book = +- R100 to R200 if it were say a fiction book, non fiction books could go up anywhere around R500 (note that books more than R200 are usually kept within the library Reserved Section) That said if one were to simply look at the Economies of scale if this "gadget" stored just 2 reference books or 10 normal books it would result in similar economies of scale. However books can be used by multiple people over a period of time, the usual lending period of a book is 14 days, a book itself per year could be expected to be read 3-4 times depending on popularity (most of the books lifecycle is being lost or on the shelf) so if a book were to cost R500 its effective cost per year denoted by the amount of reads could be expected to be around R120. That said I do believe that it is a still a bit expensive to afford a single laptop for every person in a school however it really is becoming more and more affordable PS. just think how many tree's you will save if all these books were to have not been produced in the first place.

JCitizen
JCitizen

is that information is power. If these youngsters get information they will quickly get a grip! In my estimation you can put out all the misinformation you want, but on the internet it can be quickly refuted by a counter point. This is part of what irritates those that espouse terror as a tactic. Their propaganda that is put out there is balanced by other information that is easily available. Even China has not been totaly successfull at blocking everything; but you can bet the people are making good use of it to improve their lives. If I would have had the information that is available now I would have had a more fulfilling career. I just couldn't find the right tools and information to make the right decisions in preparation for those life paths we all take. In those days accessing school councelors and libraries was not productive.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

of this, disregarding legality, is the ability of students to copy others books. A single digital file can provide data to a nearly unlimited number of students. A hard copy book can not do this. And, in this internet world, many on-line repositories of digital books already exist, and educational programs could create another with little effort (aside from legal/copy write). This lowers your estimates on digital books, in that not each lap top will or should have the same books, thus creating a "virtual" library in the "network space" of the lap tops. This could be consolidated on servers at schools etc. edit Spelling

JCitizen
JCitizen

Sorry for flaming but I just get mad at ignorant statements like this! Read Neon's post and be educated!

glgruver
glgruver

this might be a good project for a Service Club, PTO or Church group to get behind. Do a few fund raisers and that sort of thing. Just about all colleges now require students to have a laptop, or at the very least a home computer with internet access. As long as there are public school classrooms with one 486/66 computer for 30 kids (more common than you want to think about) and probably no internet access either, these kids will never acquire the computer literacy required by higher education institutes. IMHO we need to start a "One Laptop per Child" program of our own to ensure the next generation of our children become computer literate as well as those in other lands. I am mostly concerned with the children who attend rural and urban inner-city schools because these are the the areas that are falling behind in computer literacy.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I have a lot of used computers that still work, including good monitors, ect. I'll have to contact them and see if they take shipments. We have a small warehouse full of them!

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

but there are people out there doing what they can here in America. http://freegeek.org/ is an amazing organization. I have intentions of starting something similar, here where I am, in the next few years. edit:Spelling

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Your considering this from a nice cooshy couch while reading on a machine that eats more power a day in "sleep mode" than the OLPC machines eat in several days under regular use. It's very easy to say "kids need books, not gadgets" when your on your cooshy couch considering the digitally spoiled youth we have around these parts. Try considering OLPC as an *educational project* that happens to use a computer as the information medium. You would probably benifit greatly from reading the OLPC FAQ and related information. Open your mind to new possabilities. Or, maybe you have a better idea on how to distribute information in a cheap rugged manner to the maximum number of recipients? As you put it; "Kids need books, not gadgets". Books are expensive. The places that OLPC is targeting can barely afford a few books to share around a classroom let alone a book per indavidual child. Books are not mobile. Students can not take a book home to read overnight. Again, they are expensive and hard to come by so school copies are very valuable. Books don't like rain. A book won't stand up to most weather out of doors. Rain and sand storms will destroy a book in no time flat. Books are not interactive. A student can't write all through a book without destroying it for the next reader. A book can't be taken apart and put back together. But your probably right. A ruggedized, power efficient notebook designed for dailight reading, harsh environments and easy information sharing probably isn't the way to go. " Kids need books, not gadgets. Nuff said. Dumb idea. " You've abviously thought this through to a great extend. Please, share your findings and thoughts. If a "gadget" isn't the way to do it and books don't seem to be the better way; what does the all knowing Q prepose for a solution? If OLPC is going about it the wrong way then please list the humanitarian projects you've been involved with who are going about it the right way. (or maybe you should learn about a project before you simply decide to open your mouth and bash it with a two line comment)

tom.wilkinson
tom.wilkinson

Too many posts on this subject are coming from people that have ABSOLUTELY no idea what life and the struggle for daily survival is like for the majority of people on planet. This project has been well thought out, the laptops are very robust, and are apparently very distinctive so if adults are using these laptops destined for children it will be obvious, and hopefully discouraging. This will be an enabler for the younger generations to gain knowledge and communication skills to obtain decent work or start up good businesses and break out of poverty.

bjohnston
bjohnston

I would do it in a heartbeat. A lot of the comments I have seen ask what it would take to get one for their own child etc. This would make both groups happy.

ratcatzdogz
ratcatzdogz

Alas, no not when I could get a good full featured down level laptop for just under $400 if they had held to the $200 price point this might have a Chance at success but you can get a good one for your child, that is not a jumped up toy for that money. true maybe bill gates could fund it but I have read it uses embedded Linux and no hard drive but has wifi and a hand crank charger it's all very Nobel but it should be at a $49.95 toy look at the toy systems at toys-r-us they can do a lot of what this can, there must be some way to get this mass produced at a lower cost, you can get a good desk top for $300. this has all the smell of a con. at this price Bill Gates could pony up a million bucks that wold pay for 250,000 of them

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

- LCD screen fully readable in direct sunlight - Battery life greater than anything available from "professional" machines -- The hand crank is one of a few recharging options available along with solar panels and such - Power consumption is barely a trickle - chassis and keyboard are sealed against weather - chassis withstands drops onto stone from waste hight or greater - completely expandable OS installed under an open license that allows the students more interested in computers to learn the logical side of the machine also. Even finding something that matched the hardware specs closely for 400$ is nearly impossible. Heck, Panasonic's military grade Toughbooks match it for rugged strength at ten times the price point. It does look kind of goofy but it's an educational tool for small children so that's fine. Based on it's functions though, it's far from a toy.

bjohnston
bjohnston

The way I understood the question was If you could buy one for $200 would you throw in another $200 so a kid in another country could get one too. The usefulness of this computer goes way beyond Toys-R-US. Consider power consumption, the interconnectivity with other users and the cool software tools.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

This is one of those topics on which I really can't stand the usual neighsayers. Every OLPC article that get's published has at least on "they need books, not computers" comment from someone who's read nothing about the project but decided they needed to have an opinion on it anyhow. I had heard that wireless is growing quickly in europe and africa. The first because there are too many old historical land marks that can't have wiring run through them. The second because there is too much open space to make wired infrastructure a viable initial install versus wireless (hence, cell phones are booming in Africa). I don't know the specifics in each location though. I just think OLPC is one of those projects that needs to be give a chance rather than picked apart by people looking for reasons to fail.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I am intensely interested in this subject! I notice we got a few foreign posts here that add a little to the discussion! Hopefully they are who they say they are. So much for "backwards third world incapability". I couldn't believe the arrogant ignorance displayed at the message board the last time this subject came up. It probably prevented participation from folks in Africa and elsewhere. I hope the term "third world" becomes an unacceptable phrase in our discourse in the near future.

JCitizen
JCitizen

if a guy reads the world news, it leaves you with the impression that IT infrastructure is growing in leaps and bounds especially in India but wireless is hopping along in Africa also. I'm sure you know this already Neon. I am just jumping in to add to the discussion.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Internet connectivity was considered early on in development. The indavidual machines automatically build a mesh network (I don't know how the security works but it's there). Two or more machines means you have a network to share information. The school or central location would also get a server that hosts available information and talks to the indavidual machines. This becomes the hub of the mesh network. If you can get the central server connected to the internet than all mesh work clients have internet access. If you can't get a connection then you can still load your information on the server from other media and provide more available knowledge than any third world library. There are also many other tech related humanitarian projects out there. I believe the Geekcorps already has a cheep to build wifi network repeater powered from a solar cell and batteries. Besides, being connected to the Internet is not the be all and end all. If they have a large enough mesh network and central repository then they are already way ahead of a limiting physical library.

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

that there is internet access or Wi-Fi available in these developing areas the laptop will be based at. I doubt there is!

Larry the Security Guy
Larry the Security Guy

"I have read it uses embedded Linux and no hard drive but has wifi and a hand crank charger" Perhaps it's time to read more current news.

keeleyt83
keeleyt83

It would be nice but I wonder if it would actually stay in the hands of the kid. Would hard-up parents be quick to take it from the child to sell it? I mean, it sounds great, but how would it play out in the real world?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've read a few articles on different protection schemes they considered. The colour and goofy look is even part of it so they stand out very obviously. The OLPC FAQ has a good writeup on it though I don't have the link handy.

stuart.pegg
stuart.pegg

Indeed, how long would it be before they're being used by drugs/arms/insurgent/gang/terrorist/death/doom/despair organisations to run and co-ordinate their operations?

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

the drug dealers ALREADY have computers...And the latest in firearms and Mercedes Benz VIP class.

jonathan.202518000
jonathan.202518000

Well heck if they start using them for start up drug/firearms and other illegitamate businesses at least thyey would have learned something. More seriously though some people have no option but going into these fields of business because their education is so lacking. Successfull drug/ firearm runners would be able to afford a normal laptop rather than an educational version there really isn't anyway one can safely protect interests in legality with or without a $100 laptop

JCitizen
JCitizen

evil and misinformation every time. The terrorists will lose in this area, no matter how much propaganda they put out. It didn't work in the Soviet Union it won't work anywhere else either.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Does rural(or residential)Namibia have a growing wireless infrastructure? Or would it be more practical to use telephone lines?

tom.wilkinson
tom.wilkinson

People like you are the main reason nothing positive ever goes into Africa. We take everything good out of it, but we give nothing back. For once would be good to trust these guys, and see what they can do with these machines. There is so much excellent learning material on the internet that requires no transport and costs nothing. A few extra laptops is hardly going to assist terrorists. They will already have state of the art ones, they ain't gonna be screwing around wi these cheapies.

mnghishekwa
mnghishekwa

These machines can be used in africa. There entry level laptop costs $1000.00

oscar.lozano
oscar.lozano

Following the same line of thought, they should consider to donate them to schools to ensure the proper usage of those equipments. That also means that those school should reinforce their security though!

JCitizen
JCitizen

I cut my teeth on some of the first internet while I was in the Army. But the green machine probably brain damaged me about as much as the sleep apnea I used to suffer from! :p Wished I could type as fast without carpal tunnel anyway! :^0

JCitizen
JCitizen

Cool!! It gets me excited just hearing that Dumphrey. Gives me good tidings that the world could improve with humans doing simple tricks like this to get information to the world masses. I thump on this soap box as hard as Republicans do on the freedom kick. To me freedom doen't always come to all cultures until they have enough information about the whole world; not just their back yard.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

but if you look at Q's profile, he is in hardware design... Im sure he probably knows it didn't matter, but couldn't stop himself from being an anal retentive exact-monger. We all do it from time to time, lord knows I do...ask my fiancee... if she doesn't kill me first... My general rule is that if they start out by atatcking my gramer, spelling, etc, then they have no idea what the content is, and as such, their opinion is worthless.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I believe you on the tin can, in fact, my college room mate shares internet with his friend across the street through a wireless "can-tenna" he made from an old coffee can, some copper wire a few nuts n bolts, and a plastic film canister. Works lie a charm, he gets 1.2 Mbps (inet throughput) in line of site at about 65 yards. They have an ancient P2 running Mantix as the "router." If you google wireless antennas you can find all kinds of stuff in use =)

lourayr
lourayr

What about Meg Ryan? :o) While I am sure one may abbreviate processor speed as Mhz I tend to abbreviate it MHz if I am turning in a graded paper for my master?s (abbreviated by the way). I am sorry that my 90 wpm typing style causes my abbreviations to take on non-abbreviated lives since my typing goes down to 40 wpm whenever I have to add those troublesome capital letters, numbers, and that darn punctuation. It is much easier to abbreviate television as tele instead of T.V. when I type (but if I do that most would think I was talking about the telephone). :o) So, I am one of those personality types that is not only a mutli-tasker, but also such an extensive abbreviator that my abbreviations (and this is not just typing). So, when I am typing to a group of people who I think belong to an IT community with various jargons, why would I imagine that I?d get a grade (I should have known my audience right after reading some of these logs). Q (abbreviated I suppose) while I appreciate your "education," I do still have my 486 (once again abbreviated) with Win 3.x (abbreviated) and then later going up to a 75 --> MHz

JCitizen
JCitizen

Yes, thanks Dumphrey; I finally ran across those facts later on; sounds very practical. I am also getting feedback from Africans that state my suppositions of a fast growing rural wireless are also correct. This, I was sure of, as our Presbyterian projects in Africa report using very economical and innovative ways of producing access in the outback. Sometimes using ordinary tin cans; believe it or not!!

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

the OLPC laptop is a low powered embedded red hat linux based laptop, wireless it has in spades. It was designed to set up ad-hoc peer-to-peer wireless networks in order to share whatever internet connection is available.

JCitizen
JCitizen

or at least what he was trying to say. I've been waiting for someone whose school system wasn't up to snuff, to report in on this subject. Maybe we should be looking at some of OUR OWN schools for the project. That would be a win win situation; to get production going and help lower the cost-per-unit. Most people I know even out in the sticks have computers in their pre-school classrooms. I read a lot about rural wireless technology taking off in the outbacks of Africa too. I forget the specs on the laptop, but I hope it has wireless capablility.

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

There's no such thing as a "Meg", first of all, and secondly, it's a 486 computer, or a 486/66Mhz computer. As in frequency.

lourayr
lourayr

Just to clarify for the younger folks out there... Not 486 Meg... A 486 is a 75 Meg (or less)!!! Ahhhh again!!! :o)

lourayr
lourayr

I think that is a great idea. My sister teaches in DC public schools. I was shocked when I visited her 6th grade class to find ONE computer... A 486!!!!! Ahhhh. My daughter's pre-school in Arlington had 10 computers just for her pre-school class!

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