Quanta Building CM1 in Changshu


Barry Lam, Quanta Computer Chairman

To add to today's One Laptop Per Child Children's Machine specs, we now know where the CM1 will be manufactured.

Digitimes is reporting that Quanta Computer, the OLPC CM1 OEM, will be producing the $100 $140 dollar laptops in Changshu, Jiangsu Province, China.

This is different than previous reports of basing the computer manufacturing in Shanghai. Sources tell Digitimes, Quanta made the switch due to 20% higher labor costs in Shanghai.

I wonder if the 20% cheaper Changshu workers could afford a One Laptop Per Child $100 $140 dollar laptop?

No matter if they can or not, Negroponte might want to readjust his OLPC testing and production schedule again. Quanta Computer, and the related component makers, are scheduled to start production in the first half of 2007, not November as Negroponte claimed.

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The production of these laptops, ostensibly to help poor children, in a factory that uses super-cheap labor, seems disingenuous.

Might the OLPC production be perpetuating the poverty it proposes to mitigate?

"Perpetuating poverty"?

Unless those factory workers are being scammed of their wages (which does happen in some Red Chinese operations :-( they are actually much more likely to be driving cars and living in houses five years from now than Chinese their age who don't have factory jobs and are stuck grinding out quotas on collective farms.

So long as you're dealing squarely with people, not treating them like Kentucky coalminers kept trapped and penniless in a company town, then throwing big work to the cheapest workforce uses up poverty!

On another issue:

You speak for the "poor kids". Me, I don't think truly poor kids are going to get 2B1's. True poverty is starving without a home or family in an endless civil war, like parts of Uganda or most of Burma. It is hiding what food or utensils you have under rocks in fields to keep fifteen-year-old soldiers from taking them, or hiding your own eight-year-old self in a forest every night to keep those same soldados from taking *you*.

To my mind, most 2B1's will go to the "micromiddleclass": the people living in rough-looking but neatly-kept favelas who have successfully plugged into reliable channels of food and income, who have electricity in the home and four bars of cellphone service and dollar-an-hour Internet cafes within easy walking distance, but family incomes well under four thousand dollars a year.

These are the homes in which governments can drop 2B1's with assurance that bizarre roadblocks and house-to-house searches are not necessary to keep the machines from promptly leaving again -- traded for desperately-needed construction materials, food or cooking fuel, or simply taken by roving warlords.

Negroponte of course dreams of bringing computers to people without pots to pee in, but that's just one of his lovable kinks. You've got to have that kind of vision to pull off something this big.

I don't doubt that a few million 2B1's will be gifted on truly poor kids to see what will happen. But most of the 2B1's will go to low-crime, settled communities I betcha, the kind of place where the satellite Internet uplink doesn't have to be hidden in a cave every night and the kids actually dare to congregate at schoolhouses.

please send info regarding you new $100 laptop. Thanks.