OLPC XO on Sale for Christmas Computer Buyers?!

   
   
   
   
   
olpc Christmas sales
He will buy two XO's for one OLPC

Want to buy an OLPC XO "$100 laptop" for your child this Christmas? Or do you covet the clock-stopping hot technology for the perfect kid (at heart); you? Now you may be in luck!

Mary Lou Jepsen told Reuters that One Laptop Per Child is aiming to have American XO retail sales by this Christmas!

As the foundation prepares for mass production of its first model, the XO, to begin in October, it is looking for ways to subsidize manufacturing of the devices so that it can get more of them into the hands of poor children, Jepsen said.

Profits from consumer sales would go for that purpose, said Jepsen. "We're trying to get the best deal we can," she said. She added the foundation is looking at selling the machines over the Internet and talking to companies with "a big presence on the Web," although she declined to identify any by name.

Whoa! "Online distribution through a big web-presence company" sounds like XO B4 eBay sales to me, especially since they are on the OLPC Board. Then again, eBay doesn't have an actual distribution network, it relies on individuals to make the postal connection. And now that Walter Bender had to chastise Michael Dell for his "send them recycled computers" nonsense, don't think "$100 laptops" will pass through Austin.

olpc xo sales
OLPC XO's would out-sell iPhone!

So who would be selling the coolest must-have techno-toy for the hard core geek. Who will organize a Christmas shopping frenzy beyond any iPhone comparison?

Could we see Hewlett Packard or Toshiba go retail with $100 laptops? What if OLPC continues its dark-horse strategy of utilizing relatively unknown companies for its XO sales effort?

Or what about Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim? Negroponte has already said that Slim will support OLPC Latin America, and take a wild guess who owns the struggling CompUSA?

On Feb. 1, [2000], Grupo Sanborns, one of Slim's subsidiaries, kicked off a tender offer to acquire all the outstanding shares of CompUSA Inc., the largest computer store chain in the U.S., for nearly $800 million. Microsoft Corp. and SBC Communications Inc. are expected to come in as minority investors.

''Technology is going to transform people's lives and society everywhere in the world,'' says Slim. ''My main task is to understand what's going on and try to see where we can fit in.''

olpc subsidized sales
US sales subsidize OLPC Peru?
How about fitting into OLPC by selling Children's Machines in the USA, marked-up with a donation to support the OLPC Foundation? To quote Reuters on Jepsen again:
The One Laptop Per Child Foundation's rugged XO laptop could initially sell for just $350, or twice its production cost, although the group is also considering a $525 price tag, said OLPC chief technology officer Mary Lou Jepsen.

If the XO laptop does make its way onto the market this year, it could surprise personal computer makers who have already spent months planning their strategy for the 2007 holiday season.

Surprise? You mean totally blindside and bankrupt them with a kick-ass Open Source solution. I know I wanna be the first geek on my block to own a One Laptop Per Child production-level laptop. Hell, I'd even buy an XO for every kid on my block, at $176 or even $350 dollars. But not $525, 3x its current $176 price.

Over $350 and OLPC will be competing against the likes of Wal Mart's Everex Impact GC3502 and other low-cost options. Yes, I know it's not the computing revolution of the XO B4, nor does it have the sexy "buy two, get one" philanthropic angle, but price points do matter.

Price points like "$100 laptop".

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35 Comments

It's biggest completion for consumers will probably be the Asus Eee. which has twice the ram and 8 times the flash and a faster processor for 250 bucks.

I hope the plans for commercial sales go through and I hope Nick Negroponte has as little to do with them as possible, having shown his disdain for the idea of having to sell the computer.

Wayan, you may be right about the XO being revolutionary since it does away with a number of truths about computers but only if the price point can be maintained at well below the market for conventional laptops.

At $350 it'll sell, partly as a novelty and partly to the relatively small number of laptop buyers who can't quite wait to put together another $100 to get a new, conventional laptop. But it won't be gang-busters sales.

At $200 it'll be flying off the shelves and be impossible to keep in stock.

$200 is into the impulse purchase area for lots of buyers and the low price works well with the reduced capabilities of the XO compared to conventional laptops. The price also works well with the form factor and the puppy-dog cuteness of the computer; a small price for a small computer. That's proper. It's tough enough not to have to be treated like antique dinnerware, comes at a price that's an invitation to the sort of easy, casual handling appropriate to consumer products and has a look that suggests it needn't be treated with reverence.

I predict it'll be an instant gotta-have among the technoids if for no other reason then that it proclaims a disdain for the conventional. They'd also be cheap enough to hack all apart in an effort to improve and extend and common enough to make a good hack of interest to a lot of people.

Turning a profit on the XOs means they're a real business which would go a long way toward allaying the fears of suppliers trying to decide whether to invest in XO-specific supply and subassembly manufacture. The decision to invest in this way is key to getting the price down to that magic $100 figure and below.

Commercial sales means us rich Americans will be doing the early, higher-priced purchasing necessary to drive the cost of the XO down to the point that it's purchase makes sense for people with much less buying power then us. Also there's a lot of "us" who have relatives back in the old country. XO's would almost certainly become a favorite gift to family members who back home since, among their other favorable attributes, an XO would facilitate family communications.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.

A thought experiment - give an XO to an American kid and the question will be "what does it do?" The answers will ave to be "No, it doesn't run Windows programs. No, you can't run games on it. And it looks like it's for kids because it IS for kids".

This seems to be a setup for most kids to reject it. There will be a few, however, who discover they can get into it and mess around, as well as communicate sending pictures without having to deal with the mobile phone bill and its consequences.

A whole lot more adult geeks will buy it and play with it, which is not a bad thing - I am all for play as a means of exploring the possibilities of technology. And, like the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons of the '60's, which were written to include some jokes with adult appeal so that kids would get the message that it was funny to older folk and thus not "just for kids", there will start to be leakage to lower age levels.

This will not result in an educational revolution. I believe that it will realize my previously published prediction that the XO will become a new form of television embraced by adolescents and pre-adolescents and exploited by megaliths like News Corporation.

This will provide a relatively benign denoument to the OLPC drama. Instead of a campaign to "straighten out the backwards areas" of the world (odious rhetoric from fifty years ago, not a direct quote from this decade, though the degree to which it applies to the OLPC worldview should be considered), it will create an early-adopters' market in the industrial world and will seed some previously unseen forms of media software.

I think any "buy one send one (or two) to the needy abroad" program will function more as a propaganda (oops, marketing) advantage rather than as a serious distribution strategy. I would expect some would-be Bono to organize rock concerts to push the process along, with seas of XOs waved by the audience while they exchange pictures by mesh network.

And best of all, the technology will gain an economic toehold, which is all it needs to survive, providing that its name is not besmirched by failed attempts to replace the educational system.

The developing world certainly needs the benefits of what Wayan persists in calling "clock-stopping hot technology". It will have a home in many a village and town providing the functionality of a telecentre, the local internet cafe, and an educational resource.

It will be introduced there not by the technological mandarins of Cambridge, Mass., but rather by members of the various diasporas who have made it to these wealthy shores and who never forgot where they came from. Allen is quite right to make this connection - one which I described a few years ago.

In the British comedy film "The Horse's Mouth" Alec Guinness plays an obscure artist whose works are lionized for all the wrong reasons once he is thought to be dead. In the end he wanders away, obscure as ever, muttering "It's not the vision I had".

This will not be the vision that Nick had, but it will be the beginning of something else - something that we can all put our hands to and that will mean something different to each of us. I think I've seen something like this before.

(Hats off to Mary Lou Jepsen and all those who worked on the technology, both hardware and software).

I am interested in purchase of at least 100 olpc but
can any one tell me are it's cast is actually 100$ ,and it's possible to delivery in india.

"I am interested in purchase of at least 100 olpc but
can any one tell me are it's cast is actually 100$ ,and it's possible to delivery in india."

Sorry to disappoint you, but currently both questions must be answered in the negative. The OLPC XO computer is only available to governements and will cost about $176 a piece.

If the above post is correct and XOs will be sold by Christmas to the public, they will most certainly cost more than $176. Personally, I would bank on US$350 + tax which would come down to around 14084 INR + tax or EURO 253 + 45.54 VAT (~EURO 300).

Winter

Lee,

"The answers will ave to be "No, it doesn't run Windows programs. No, you can't run games on it. And it looks like it's for kids because it IS for kids".

Yes, you can run games on it (plenty of Linux ones out there plus console emulators and even Windows ones under Wine emulation).
And it's not just for kids - I'm supporting quite a few elderly users whose only needs are Internet browsing and word processing and an inexpensive, simple and easy to use computer like XO would be ideal for them. Come to think of it, that's what many/most people use their computers for anyway. Add to it a 'super' eBook functionality and you have a winner - surely, even an OLPC critic like yourself should be able to see this...

I also hope the XO will soon be available for individuals if the OLPC really wants to succeed (and I really hope it will).
Up to twice the price seems reasonable (I like the "buy one, offer one" idea) above it probably won't work.

I don't understand why Negroponte is not keen to the idea (of selling the laptop). Maybe it was necessary to have the best price from manufacturers (who wouldn't like to see the XO compete in our markets)?
Anyway if it was the case there's no more reasons since ASUS move. I don't believe the XO is a threat for the actual industrial market ("Game Console kids" are already spoiled to 3D games only)
Also forbidding to sell it to individuals can be seen as a form of discrimination and that doesn't fit well with the Open Source movement.

From what I see on the OLPC lists there's not yet a "community" around developing Open Source software for the XO.
I think this will change if anybody (in particular geeks and developers) can buy the XO easily for a reasonable price.
I would certainly participate to the project if it was the case (as a kid I had the chance to have the first "100$ personal computer", it was called a ZX81 and it changed my life).

I've just finished reading the book "The World is Flat" (version 2.0), from Thomas L. Friedman, and the XO makes sense to me in what Thomas L. Friedman describes (he also speaks on education and the third world in the "Globalisation 3.0" context).
Definitely a book I would recommend my friends.
There's a video here:
http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/266/
Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_is_Flat

francois

I think Quanta will not only manufacture childrens-sized OLPC laptops, but also make available millions of adult sized units for less than 500 dollars. It should be 11inch screen, normal un-waterproof/sandproof keyboard, iVDR slot (removable hard drive) behind the screen and be loaded with more flash memory. As long as it doesn't disturb the manufacturing of the XO-1 to also mass produce a larger design for Christmas sales. The payment of OLPC patents like the screen, dcon and other stuff will bring around 200 dollar per sale to the OLPC foundation. At least that's the kind of hardware I could use to replace my Acer Windows XP 15" 2kg laptop. Also a multimedia DSP would be nice to integrate, one that can decode and encode HD resolution video in Mpeg4, Mpeg2, h264 and other formats.

The real question is, will they go through with commercial sales in the USA? We've heard these rumors from reasonably senior OLPC staff before, only to have them repealed the "teaser" before - http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/press/who_mis-spoke_olpc_sales.html

I think that the scenario described by Charbax makes much more sense than the actual sale of XOs but with particular issue to be dealt with before it turns out to be successful. As much as they are wonderful devices, they are too geeky to be appealing for a large segment of the population.

Also, the relatively small storage capacity is a problem: remember than one good reason to buy home computers right now is to store and manipulate digital photos, music and probably video; the idea that browsing the Internet and word processing are the main uses of a computer nowadays is, may I say, obsolete. No matter how much storage you can access through thumb drives or SD cards, most the people I know prefer to have everything available quickly. So yes, something along the lines of a iVDR is needed.

It may be a hit with the same crowd that the Palm Foleo is trying to convince: people with satisfactory computing resources on their hands but with a tingling sensation that a small, very easy-to-carry computer will do wonders for a short trip, a weekend holiday or plainly to carry to a library or classroom. Certainly, with all the technology plus some storage solution and at a 350 price point, something like the Foleo will end up in the loss-leader bins at Fry's...

"No matter how much storage you can access through thumb drives or SD cards, most the people I know prefer to have everything available quickly."

Last I heard, the XO can access 8GB SD cards. Then there are USB memory devices. I have no idea what the possibilities are there.

Winter

Charbax: You should just forward the Engadget link you're responsible for, Quanta has already announced that they're planning to sell OLPC-based laptops commercially (http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/28/quanta-planning-200-olpc-for-developed-nations/ )

Eduardo/Winter: I don't think the OLPC will be a desktop, or even a normal laptop replacement anytime soon, but for 2-300, it'd be my travel and daily bouncing around town laptop replacement in a heartbeat. Insane battery life plus a Potenco power generator in case you're in a crunch? Readable in full daylight? Plus, Winter's SD and USB memory devices mean it can probably be a (ripped) DVD player, Nintendo/SNES emulator, and voice/video chat console. I mean, right there you have probably 80% of what I use my current laptop for, and the OLPC is sturdier and lighter.

so it's not gonna be just educational project anymore but a laptop project as well :/

Winter, even 8 GB are not enough when you have a 6 or 8 megapixel camera that you use all the time, and some 200 ripped CDs. That's what a lot of people get into their computers nowadays, especially when you get a 80 GB hard disk for 100 USD or less.

Jon, that's precisely my point. A perfect companion for travel for those that need a smaller, less powerful but still usable computer when traveling. How many of those are there?

"Winter, even 8 GB are not enough when you have a 6 or 8 megapixel camera that you use all the time, and some 200 ripped CDs."

Technology is about making choices.

Cheap and perfect don't go together. But a stack of 100 8GB SD cards fits easily in a book shelf. I would prefer to have it in the computer, but just choosing a handful of cards when I leave would be OK with me if it means I actually HAVE a useable laptop around.

In my case, I would synchronize the computer just as I now do with a USB memory stick. But then with the ability to go on working.

Winter

Eduardo - depending on the price point, potentially a lot. I mean, weekend trip to see the parents? Perfect. Monthlong trek with no guarantee of Internet and lots of potential hazards (water/dust/etc.) where weight is important? Also perfect. Business meeting to run a powerpoint? Not perfect. Photo safari? Better stock up on a lot of memory sticks.

Regardless, right now there's nothing in the niche it would fill. A small and light but capable and rugged computer. The only things close are Treo/blackberry devices, which are much more limited in what you can do with them.

Eduardo Villanueva Mansilla,

"How many of those are there?"

Plenty if not most. I've mentioned already elderly people I provide (volunteer) support for - the only thing they use a computer for is Internet browsing (and that includes online email) and word processing and XO would be perfect for them. While I use more powerful computer for development, my wife, again, only uses it for Internet and word processing and my 3 kids use an old 233Mz machine for Internet, school word processing, fun with Scratch and to play SNES games (have Xbox console for more powerful games) - again XO would be a perfect replacement for them. As to the storage issue - simple, just bought 300GB 'book' which is accessable to all my computers but easily put away for security.

Now, given that XO has eBook functionality only comparable (and cheaper too) to dedicated eBook readers like Sony's and easy access to free eBook libraries like Gutenberg's and others, XO would create a whole new market altogether.

There's plenty to criticize OLPC program for, but this shouldn't blind people like yourself or Lee to the fact that XO machine itself is in many ways a revolutionary computer able to replace power hungry, oversized, noisy and unreliable computers most people with basic computing needs use today...

Jon and Winter, I agree with your points of view. Then again, I'm not sure there will be such large numbers of consumers ready to ditch the vision of the digital device as a one-in-all repository. I'm surprised at the number of students I see here with 17-inch laptop just because "everything's there!"

So my final opinion on this is just: Who knows.

I've been following the OLPC project since it went public, and I like both the goal of the project and the design philosophy behind the machine.

At $250, and probably at $350 I'd get one this Christmas, and feel good knowing I was helping to fund this project.

The XO can be a niche product and still sell a million or more. Laptop sales this year are predicted to be almost 97 million.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/031907-hp-tops-dell-in-q4.html

A small percentage of that is still a lot of computers.

Put me down for one, please, I can't keep my 3 year old granddaughter off my own.

Great initiative!!!
Keep it up!!!

We can also have unlimited storage and bandwidth on the Internet, I expect Google to launch storage and bandwidth services soon a bit like http://mediamax.com and http://s3.amazon.com

This is basically how the Xo-1 works, the kids share storage over the Mesh WiFi network and using the school server's 200GB disc space and from the school server synchronising with and backing up to online storage services.

I desperately want an OLPC, and at $375 I would probably buy two of them. At $500+ I would whine for a while and want to see how first-adopters responded, but would probably eventually buy one.

Here's the scoop: We all keep our massive music collections and video/photo editing projects on a big Mac at home, right? Right. What I need is a portable computer for writing, e-book reading, e-mail, Web browsing, VOIP over WiFi, and the occaisional entertainment (oldschool console emulation would be fine). The main tools for me would be writing novels, blogging, and reading e-books.

The OLPC does everything I want out of an iPhone, and more, for less money. (I don't make phone calls)

PLEASE, if anyone knows who I should write and beg, tell me how I can encourage them to get this thing to market fast and at a sub-$400 price.

Between last summer and this summer low-end laptop prices went from US$500 to US$400 (recent sale through Radio Shack). By next summer the trend would put conventional 1.6 GHz, 40 GB hard drive (or better) laptops at US$320. If that happens, the OLPC's summer 2008 price would have to be ~US$240 to US$260 to generate significant sales volume.

A parent can buy a child a used 1 GHz Dell or Toshiba. As I write this, eBay has a number with bids under US$100 with less than 3 hours until bidding closes. That's a good indication local swap meets offer notebook computers for US$60 including live demonstration and no shipping charges.

How does the OLPC stack up against 4 or 5 year old conventional notebook computers? Can OLPC compete in the USA?

While not portable in the traditional sense, another option for something for your kids this Christmas may be the new Zonbu PC. It claims to be able to handle most desktop tasks, uses very little power and stores all your stuff online.

I was curious to see whether or not I could replace my desktop PC with this $99 box, at least for non-gaming stuff. So I ordered one. Reviews are one thing, I decided to blog about the real-world experience. If you're interested, stop by:

http://mrzonbu.wordpress.com

MrZonbu

Steve Coles,

"How does the OLPC stack up against 4 or 5 year old conventional notebook computers? Can OLPC compete in the USA?"

Less power, but much more rugged and much longer battery life. Also ebook mode and is readable outdoors. Different gui and software. I think there is plenty of room in the market for both.

Well as a matter of fact eBay does have stores selling items. So OLPC could set up a store, put someone in charge of shipping items and sell through eBay. It would be easy.

re: Lee's comments: no Windows, no games, etc.

My Daughter will be 5 in a week. She loves to surf the web at home on our iMac - there are a number of good website for her (starfall.com is one of my favorites). While Windows and Games may be a 'requirement' for some older kids, it's not for her.

I think a lot of US parents like the idea of getting a laptop their child can call their own, is durable and easy to use (unline a 4-5 year old laptop), and provides an opportunity to teach them about open-sourced versus closed sytsems, and well as poverty, education, charity and being part of a world community (another bonus of the buy two, get one plan - which I still think is GREAT).

And the geek in me really wants to get my hands on one.

-KS

how can i buy or where can i buy the $100 laptop?

When can I purchase this product?

Where and how can i get this product??
i m from india

Where do I set the wheels in motion to purchase a laptop (or several) for needy kids - what a great un-greedy idea - what a super way to build for future World economic and educational quality.

HELLO,
Am elizabeth and have been to your website,To order some product and I am currently on an Christian mission to the west africa in a country called Nigeria and i will also want you to know that there is a good bussines going on here in Nigeria and there are many company here need it,so please if that will be possible i will like you to get back with you full address and the full name of the person am sending the cheque to so kindly sent to me and all payment will be make with my cheque and
i will like to read from you asap.

Thanks.

i like to place an order in store

kindly get to me with your response

tonylibra store.

I would like to buy XO computers for a school in Tanzania. How do I go about this?

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