Why did Quanta Computer start production of One Laptop Per Child's "$100 laptop", the XO-1, when Nicholas Negroponte's promised 10 million units dropped to 1 million units, with only 250,000 confimed sold?
I assumed that Michael Wang, Quanta's outgoing President, was looking at developing commercial versions of our favorite low-cost laptop, based on his previous comments around OLPC XO USA sales. But with his departure, I wondered if that idea would hold.
EMS Now is reporting that the idea is not only holding through Wang's departure, Quanta may even be looking to sell XO laptop variants outside of the One Laptop Per Child organization:
Components suppliers for Quanta's XOs said that that Quanta appears to be exploring new markets independently by promoting the models to schools in developed countries. [...]original mission of the "$100 laptop" designers: spreading Constructionism through XO's?
In addition to Quanta itself, its clients also are highly interested in introducing the XOs into schools and are about to contract Quanta for assembling the models. Nevertheless, they have to wait till next year, when Quanta will have started delivering such models, due to a contract clause forbidding Quanta to supply the models to others.
Could Nicholas Negroponte feel his idea a success if children in America or Europe were "learning learning" instead of students in the developing world? Will Mary Lou Jepsen feel well-deserved pride if her dual mode screen is in commercial low-cost computers?
Regardless of who Quanta sells to, IDG News says Quanta is on target to produce around one million OLPC X0's in 2007 even with supply shortages in the computer manufacturing value chain.