Deal or no deal for One Laptop per Child?

The folks at the One Laptop per Child project may or may not yet be closing in on their goal of orders for 5 million or more of the low-cost computers. They've taken issue with recent reports that Nigeria and a handful of other countries are --as well as some --but say they're not ready to announce anything just yet.

laptop

The project has long said it needs a high volume of orders before production can begin, in order to keep costs low enough to justify the "$100 laptop" moniker. That's the target price, but the group expects the initial per-unit price to be closer to $140. (To see a video of OLPC leader Nicholas Negroponte discussing the project, recorded earlier in the year but posted on the TED Blog this week, click here.)

It's a mission that continues to draw praise for its concept--who doesn't applaud an effort to help educate children in developing countries, and to keep costs low?--even as a observers called some of the details of the project into question.

Blog community response:

"The OLPC project has served notice to corporations that there is a very underserved market that can further the adoption of computers and thus overall help everyone out (like the Intel's and AMD's of the world). I think that a few years from now the lasting legacy of the OLPC project may be the fact that it spurred companies to serve this market."
--unPlugged-2.0 on Slashdot

"Shouldn't this 'experiment' be supported through private funding, perhaps on a pilot scale? My problems with the OLPC initiative are that (a) it wants to sell its laptops to bureaucrats, and (b) it wants to do it in a 'Big Bang' way (a million pieces is the smallest lot a government can buy!), without doing any pilot study."
--Abi on Musings from the Academy

"I'd venture that once the following four words were seized upon, 'One Laptop Per Child' and the project named accordingly, the developers backed themselves into a corner ideologically. After all, with that name, they aren't going to develop something that isn't a laptop or that isn't on a per person basis, no matter what critical problems they hit, are they?"
--$100 laptop is not a pencil

"I like the initiative but I think it could really be sold without the arrogance."
--Stephen's Blog

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About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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