How successful was OLPC's 'Give One, Get One' program?

Although it went mostly unnoticed over the holidays, the OLPC program released XO-1 sales figures for the promotion, which weren't bad for an unfinished machine.

I missed this little bit of news at the time, but it's worth passing along here, if only for completeness.

In a brief interview published on New Year's Eve by Laptop magazine, One Laptop Per Child founder Nicholas Negroponte said total XO-1 laptop shipments during the organization's "Give One, Get One" promotion were expected to be between 150,000 and 170,000 units.

The XO laptop from the OLPC Foundation OLPC Foundation

A few days later, The New York Times reported that OLPC announced a more precise figure: 167,000 laptops. (Unfortunately, I can't locate the OLPC announcement itself; it isn't on the official OLPC site site.)

Either way, the organization also received additional orders during the promotion from Birmingham, Ala. (15,000 laptops) and others. Wikipedia's OLPC entry includes a table accounting for 602,000 units.

These aren't bad numbers for a new machine that isn't even really finished. The XO-1's software isn't yet considered stable or feature-complete. Battery life doesn't yet measure up to OLPC's early promises, as I verified with my own G1G1 machine. There's very little support available for the machine, and the 30-day warranty is good only for immediately obvious problems.

So although the approximately 83,500 orders received during the G1G1 program wouldn't be considered a great success in a commercial context, I think it reflects a pretty reasonable start to what needs to be a long-term effort.

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