Quanta to Sell XO Laptops Outside of OLPC Organization

   
   
   
   
   
olpc $100 laptop
Qaunta's OLPC Production Line

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. [...]

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.

olpc users
Do they need OLPC to use XO?
If Quanta does sell XO laptops independent of OLPC, would that satisfy the original mission of the "$100 laptop" designers: spreading Constructionism through XO's?

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.

Not even an earthquake can stop the Children's Machine positive impact on Taiwanese component suppliers - the first One Laptop Per Child beneficiaries.

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22 Comments

Awesome!

Free the XO!

OLPC has the technical acumen to produce the XO but not to actually integrate them into education systems. Selling it on the open market will be the quickest way to get laptops to those who can actually implement them in schools

Selling XO's to developed countries would have other benefits too:

1. give an effectiveness basis that OLPC could use to convince countries to buy large-scale orders of Children's Machines.

2. subsidize XO distribution though a one-for-two model or royalites

3. build up an Open Source educational software ecosystem that developing countries could leverage even on existing computers

Maybe not a bad idea at all.

Why not Europe or USA should have the same rights that other places when our parents are wasting +600 eur every year for every child's books?(that is in Spain)

Why technology created by industrialized world can't help our children first?

Every parent would like to help other children but FIRST are their own.

So when will I be able to buy one?

All very interesting and a positive development for those of us in the "first & second" worlds wanting to obtain an XO.

This past Sunday, CBS television re-aired Lesley Stahl's "60 Minutes" feature on the OLPC XO. The story looked as if it was re-edited a bit from the original broadcast and, at the end, reporter Steve Kroft added (finally confirming the rumour) that US consumers would, indeed, be able to buy an XO under the "buy two and have the other sent to the third world" plan that OLPC was floating earlier this summer. That sounds pretty official to me.

My guess is that this is how the XO will first be made commercially available. Then, after Quanta's exclusivity deal with OLPC expires in 2008 (as noted in the story above), they will probably be made available through a more conventional retail supply chain.

This would be the best thing that could happen to the XO.

I have the feeling that the narrow-minded thinking of the OLPC people is really ridiculous when it comes to selling the laptop to the developed world.

The XO would sell like hot cakes in the developed world after some simple modifications. Make the case less vivid green, and the keyboard a bit less rugged and you have a killer laptop for a wide range of people in Europe and America. Sugar will be replaced in no time with something more "adultish" (you can already download the Pepper interface for the XO which is certainly good enough with Java,Firefox...etc).

The one-for-two model is nonesense. For example: for $200 the XO would sell very strong in Europe. For $400 it wouldn't, because that price is comparable to low-end laptops and other competitors like the ASUS eeePC could beat the XO since most people wouldn't understand how is the XO a much better machine (e.g. ebook mode with 12hrs read).

Even the educational goals would be much better served in the developed world. Our schools have the human resources to run an infrastructure necessary for the XO-s (school server, mains plugs...etc).

I've been a little curious as to why 1st/2nd world countries would be shut out from OLPC. If volume is the key to getting the price down, then why limit your potential market? It's encouraging to hear that this is changing. Besides... I also want one!

I guess Quanta will make it a bit larger, to allow for bigger hands; at least a second model, for grown-ups, but with all the technology, will be a great addition in a geek's arsenal.

I have recently been to an international conference where many people were lugging around laptops (eg, for wireless access to the internet during sessions).

Almost all participants had laptops. However most people did NOT lug around a laptop because they just were too heavy to carry around for full days. Even if you really could use it.

A rugged, light laptop would really be a hot seller. It would be a USB stick with a screen for light work like browsing/email/presenting.

I for one would buy one just for that reason.

Winter

Part of the appeal of the XO for me IS that rubberized rugged keyboard (I'm going to want to take it "were no laptop has gone before") and the bright green exterior (I'm typing this on a grape purple iMac, which I bought 7 years ago when all the Windoze folks were still in love with their boring beige boxes.)

The small form factor? It doesn't bother me a bit. All laptops seem too small to me but I'm far more stymied by touchpads than diminutive keyboards. Plug in a USB mouse and I feel right at home.

If some clever aftermaket vendor comes up with bright green and white accessories, like a matching mouse on a USB cable, I'll be the first in line.

Bring on the XO to the US marketplace, OLPC. It's been a while since I made a meaningful donation to a worthy charity, so I'll happily buy an additional machine for a third world youngster while I'm paying for mine.

Very cool.

At $200 it's an instant success. At $100 it's a social phenomenon.

Such "digital divide" as exists in the developed world would disappear like a cool breeze and a zillion web sites hawking hardware, software, accessories and upgrades will spring up over night. Commercial success drives investment in support of the low-cost computer market which, ultimately, benefits the original target of the XO: poor kids in poor countries.

Henry Ford's referred to as "the man who put America on wheels". It may yet be that Nick Negroponte, largely against his will becomes "the man who put the world on the internet".

I was looking in a Best Buy Magazine and saw a Toshiba laptop on sale for $350.99.

Yes, Raphael . . . but does that $350 Toshiba come in bright green (I'll bet it's just another a boring black box) or have adjustable "rabbit ears" for superior WiFi reception? Does it run on its internal battery for up to 6 hours at a time? Will it still work after it accidentally gets dunked in water? Can you view the screen in direct sunlight? There are going to be a lot of cheap laptops out there pretty soon (as inexpensive - or less - than the XO) but there is still going to be a market for the this little green machine.

I agree with Benjamin about the XO being a unique machine. But it is also a fact that most people would choose the $350 Toshiba over a $300-$400 XO exactly because it is childish green, has rubberized keyboard ...etc.

If OLPC really wanted to lowering production costs, than the only viable strategy is to increase the production volume. The best way for this would be to sell the XO in the developed world for a good price (remember, we need volume here not profit) which makes them fly off the shelves. For this, I would make them a bit more consumer laptop-like in colour and appearance. Then, with the ramped-up production and lowered cost you can sell the XO to the developing world for an even lower price (close to the original $100 target).

Without high volume production the XO will never reach $100 and currently, I don't see so many confirmed deals with developing countries.

So does this dash all reasonable hopes of XO Christmas sales in the U.S. this year?

The XO allows for soda spills and has a hand crank when the electricity goes out. We just lost power for 2 days due to storms. Why wouldn't I buy one !! (plus I have two teenagers who are somewhat accident prone....)

I'm ready to order !!

The only problem B, is that the XO doesn't have a hand crank. The Potenco "salad spinner" is not currently available, even is Quanta is ready to sell.

It's insame to see how this laptops generate so much interest, and they are still not in the market... Hey Nik: PUT THEM IN THE MARKET! I've not been close to the news, but I've been hearing about this computers for two years at least, I've wanted one since the first time, just for the fact of the mechanical way of charging the battery... (besides the nice green and white design) and where are them now?

Put them in the global market and you will have a minimum of 1 million pre-orders, I'd make 2 of them right now if their pricee would be the $200 USD you say... one for me, one for the third world, so 2 orders.. 2 for me, 2 for the third world... and I have to say this, I'm in Colombia, not exactly the third world as many may think, but I'd be glad to help some of my childs also...

Put them in the market!!! I'll order 2 of them at once!!!! with this features you've been publishing, they will really sell as hot cakes!

Hi Fernan . . .

My sentiments exactly. With my wife and son, all 3 of us in our household want to own one . . . and we already have two perfectly good (albeit, both now getting pretty old) internet-capable computers. Tucson, Arizona, USA is not exactly the third world either but a sizable percentage of students at my son's public school don't have computers (much less monthly-billed internet accounts) in their households. I'm sure that economics play a big part in this.

Travel just a few miles from here and you will find yourself within the various Native American reservations. I don't personally know the situation of computer/internet access there but I'm willing to bet that it's considerably less desirable than it is here in "the big city."

Most of us who are fairly well off or even "just getting by" in the industrialized western world take it for granted that
there is always a internet-ready computer nearby. But even in our own home countries and home towns, we are surrounded by many who are just a few steps down the economic ladder that could truly benefit
from the XO.

The typical "cheap" ($400 or thereabouts) computer typically available to entry-level users these days is a stripped-down and underpowered (processor-wise) yet power hungry (in terms of electrical current draw) desktop model running an innefficient and bloated Windows
Vista OS. Not typically equipped with even a nominal
compliment of internet security software out of the box, just a short
time on the web soon renders it becoming even slower and, ultimately, bug-ridden . . . ready for the landfill within a year or two by most standards but, for those with less disposable incomes, the lifespan typically draws out considerable longer.

Instead, how about being able to purchase a neat little laptop for about half that price that draws about as much wattage from an AC outlet as a compact fluorescent lightbulb? . . . with a internet-secure and reliable Linux OS that isn't encumbered by years market-driven "upgrades" and "improvements?"

Bring on the XO, OLPC. We're ALL ready for it!

I would buy one, and plug a USB keyboard into it, so that I can take notes in class, without being too noisy (the keyboard layout is not user-friendly).

It's much more subtle and weights less than a laptop.

Demand for $100 laptop sales is ridiculous. Quanta is foolish to wait a year for OLPC to let it sell on its own. By then, we'll all be using Asustek's Eee or a overclocked N95 to compute on the go.

Come on Quanta! Get these into general open production! People will buy one each for the children in their family and many will buy one each for the adults too. They are new, novel, easy, and FUN!

Every day that goes past with restricted supply is a day wasted.

The OLPC project will gain greatly from the wider use.

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