The OLPC XO "$100 Laptop" Is Now the $150 Dollar Laptop

   
   
   
   
   

Finally, news reports are dropping the inaccurate "$100 laptop" moniker for the OLPC Children's Machine XO for the slightly more realistic $150 dollar laptop price point. In Jason Szep's Developing nations to test new $150 laptops Reuters article out today, you'll note that he is continuing a trend away from Nicholas Negroponte's media-savvy but cost-inaccurate initial $100 dollar laptop price point.

olpc $100 laptop
A $150 Dollar Ebook?

In fact, he never even uses "$100 laptop" in his article when he talks OLPC XO price:

[T]he non-profit "One Laptop per Child" project will roll out nearly 2,500 of its $150-laptops to eight nations in February.
This a great relief from previous "$100 laptop" news reports that are still fooled by the OLPC marketing spin that is so pervasive, the OLPC website is even titled:
"One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a $100 laptop for the world's children education."
Pervasive but not so persuasive marketing if we look a little deeper into the current cost conversation, a conversation not complete until you apply OLPC costs to national budgets like Nigeria's.

OLPC Website
If you read the OLPC Foundation website, specifically the credit card donation form, you'll see that OLPC is already using $150 as the per laptop price:

  • 1 XO Laptop for 1 student @ $150
  • Laptops for a Team of 3 students @ $450
  • Laptops for a Classroom of 20 students @ $3,000
Quanta Computer
If you are following Quanta Computer, the OLPC laptop manufacturer, you'll note they've not been coy about costs. Or as Digitimes reports:
While the retail price for an XO is likely tagged at US$150, the current BOM (bill of materials) for the portable device reach as high as US$140, leaving component suppliers and the end-producer (Quanta) to share a tiny difference of US$10, the sources indicated.
olpc $100 laptop
$150 = Only OLPC hardware
OLPC MOU's
So far, we've just explored the cost of OLPC XO's only - not the costs associated with actually implementing them in the classroom. That number we can best calculate from the Memorandum of Understanding between the Libyan Government and One Laptop Per Child. It details an agreement of 1.2 million computers, one server per school, a team of technical advisers to help set up the system, satellite internet service and other infrastructure for $250 million dollars. Or a total cost of $208 dollars per laptop.

OLPC News Numbers
Starting with the Libya MOU figures, Jon explored other costs that might be associated with OLPC XO implementation and ownership and came up with a startling figure. The OLPC XO became the $1000 laptop. Now those costs are country dependent - a Brazilian cost comparison found a different price point, but still more than $100 per computer.

To be fair, OLPC has conceded that it will not make the $100 price point this year. In the very same Jason Szep Developing nations to test new $150 laptops article, Walter Bender is quoted with the current OLPC cost talking point: $100 laptops are the eventual goal

The project's operators say the price should fall to $100 apiece next year, when they hope to produce 50 million of the so-called "XO" machines, before dipping below $100 by 2010 when they aim to reach 150 million of the world's poorest children.

"We're pledging to always drive the price down," Walter Bender, the group's president of software and content, told Reuters. "Rather than continuing to add features to keep the price inflated, we're keeping the feature set stable and driving the price down."

Now if only the press, and OLPC, would let go of $100 laptop marketing spin until we really do have a laptop to crow about.

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32 Comments

Why can't we get computers like that for us adults? I don't need new OS every 2 years- I haven't learned Win 98 yet. I don't need to burn cd's or dvd's. I don't want gazillions of colors or animated icons. Just a machine that will do what I tell it. Simply. With no error messages you can't understand.

Wayan,

It was your blog quoted in this article... http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070212/tc_nm/onelaptop_dc

Regards from Skopje,

Alek

What about the children in OUR country? I donated my old laptop to a hispanic family who've never had a computer. The elementary age kids love the educational kids games (I bought a few off ebay for $2 each) and it has really improved their reading skills. Let get laptops for american children before we start sending them overseas.

Wayan, it is really irresponsible of you to keep quoting that $1000 per laptop figure. As I have pointed out before, over half that figure is for internet access, and if access would actually cost that much then the country would drop it from its plans.

Wayan, either present a counter-agument or stop using that figure.

Eduardo,

Jon made a calculation of costs and defended it against a horde of Slashdot commenters. Its up to you to make a solid counter argument.

Please make your own calculation of the total cost of ownership to implement a million OLPC's in developing countries. Email it to me and I'll gladly publish it on OLPC News - we do encourage reader submissions.

If you accuracy is greater, and you can defend your calculations, I'll even use your end number in future posts.

Until then, the $1000 laptop figure remains.

Will there be anymore software upgrades following the "olpc239"? I'm asking because I've seen the YouTube videos of what the XOs are designed to do, especially in the sharing of applications via Mesh-Net, video chatting, saving snapped photos, etc.

I'm sympathetic to the point made by Jessica; why isn't this initiative focused on making an inexpensive laptop for american students?

As the technology director for a small K-8 district, I've been looking for a financially viable way to provide 1:1 access to my students and have not been able to find one. To date, the Alphasmart NEO is the only solution that comes close in terms of price point and manageability, but that device is limited in its application.

A managable computer at the ~$150 price point with wireless Internet, the ability to function as an E-book reader, and a good suite of basic productivity software would allow us to execute a lot of the instructional strategies that will allow us to maintain our students' competativeness in this "flattened", high-tech world.

When will this device or a device that incorporates some of the low-cost technologies that it pioneers be marketed to US schools? Have US manfacturers ever been approached? Is a version of this device that's optimized for a US market in the works?

I'm very interested in this project and will continue to follow its progress.

Wayan:
"Please make your own calculation of the total cost of ownership to implement a million OLPC's in developing countries. Email it to me and I'll gladly publish it on OLPC News - we do encourage reader submissions."

I already did the calculation in my Dec 23 comment to the original $1000 laptop post. I started with jon's calculations and then subtracted the $541 to come up with $531 if internet is $100 or $431 if there is no internet.

"Jon made a calculation of costs and defended it against a horde of Slashdot commenters. Its up to you to make a solid counter argument."

That's a dodge. The question is not what Slashdot hordes said, it is what I said. I made my argument, namely that developing countries wouldn't include internet if it was $541 like Jon was assuming. You either have to argue that they would include it at that price, or accept that my argument is correct.

Wayan, you're a smart fellow. You can do better than this.

Eduardo,

You're a smart fellow. You can do better than your basic argument which is a dodge in its self: "That is because it includes $541 for internet, and no developing nation could afford that."

Again, I invite you to work out your price estimates for various countries - if only for Internet connectivity - and email them to me as a post for OLPC News.

Posts are much more effective than comment trails like this one, and I actively solicit posts on all OLPC topics http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/olpc_news/

$100, $150, or $300, I want one for each of my children. I want one for each of my relatives' children too.

When can we buy them?

The reason the laptop won't initially be sold in the US is because there's no education bureacracy in the US that could buy a million of them. In the US, responsibility and funding for schools is divided up among thousands of local school boards, according to standards largely set by state governments. In many other countries, educational funding and standards are set by the central government. Both the strength and the weakness of that system is that a few people in the center, e.g. in Libya, can decide what will happen for 1.2 million children. It's possible that a coaltion of large US school districts could do a group purchase, if they got sufficiently interested.

True that. No one school district has 1 million students. Maybe after this first round of orders, the lot requirement will drop below 1 million.

I can see school districts buying lots of 1,000 or 10,000 of $100 laptops, even if they turn out to be double that price.

I would like to obtain additional information on your
"One Laptop Per Child" program for developing countries.I am a Rotarian in a Gainesville, Florida Rotary Club that is working with the U.S.Peace Corps in Togo, Africa. Our Club recently helped build a high school there, with the help of the Peace Corps, and we now in the process of trying to help set up a computer education program. The community has no electricity and I understand that the OX has its own internal ability to generate its own power. Since our club is interested in setting up a computer program for the school I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me more detailed information on your OX. Also, as I gather, your price per unit is now $150.00 is that correct??? My mailing address is Jack M. Walls 8620 NW 13th Street #129 Gainesville, Florida 32653. Thank you

It can't be a $100 computer even if the list price is $100 dollars. When I buy computers for the university, I compute another 100% of costs for installation and maintenance + 50% for software and support.

If I had to budget for a computer in the wilds of Nigeria, it would have to be 3-400% more than list price. These will be $400 computers at least.

Nigeria or Argentina will not buy the computers in one block, they will have to buy them over time.

where and how can i get the OLPC XO laptop? i live in Indonesia.

Totally agree with Robert Foote; I'm a designer, and think that making a computer cheaper just because of it hardware components is a pooor concept. The important thing is to make it useful and fun, to build a great and clear experience, closer to those who use it, not on the other way, when you need to be an engineer to outtake all you need, when you need it.

Bambang,

I wish you could buy an OLPC, but you cannot - you will have to wait for the Indonesian government to buy one million laptops and then give your child one. That's the OLPC distribution plan.

What if the countries buy the notebook at $100 and sell back to people in the US for $400? or more? The country can make instant profits. Is there any system that prevents this reverse marketing? If a family can make $300 profit instantly, it could be more than an annual income.

I've seen Mr. Negroponte as trying to sell OLPC to the Romanian governement.

Firstly I had a strange feeling, that Mr. Negroponte is trying to sell the OLPC to countries from the top of the corruption. Why? Everybody knows.
I mean, how much is a 7" LCD panel? Around 30US$ FOB China.

How much is a 512 Flash disk? Don't know. 1 GIGA flash is 6.5US$ FOB China.
Well, I can't image why the 100US OLPC costs 150US$. Sorry, I can imagine where the difference is going.

Also about the governamental program running in Romania, which is far better than this OLPC: People get a 200EUR voucher upon buying a computer.
Is it better then a monopolistic OLPC?
Certainly.

People have the right to choose.
Sure, I do like Redhat's work on the software from the back of the OLPC, but also I can tell you, a monopolistic situation is not good, but for a very few.

i want 100 dollar laptop i am student in italy we have money euro how can i buy

Antal,

I like your idea - 200EUR vouchers (or tax rebates) for educational computer purchases in countries that have the ability to manage such a program. That would go a long way in stimulating both the supply and demand of educational technology.

I don't think it would work in a place like Nigeria, but it could work in Brazil or Argentina.

phooh !!!!!!!!!!!!!! u say it is on Nepal but how can i get it ? mail me [email protected]

I really want to buy an Olpc but you said that it isn't for sale in the U.S. Just because the u.s. is a pretty rich country compared to others, it doesn't mean that all the people in it are. A twelve year old girl like me should be able to pay just as little money for a laptop as any other kid my age. Please tell me that the Olpc will be able to go on sale to anyone. Thanks.

Sybile,

OLPC USA sales may just happen. One Laptop Per Child is relaxing their developing world-only stance in order to make an initial 3 million laptop order: http://www.olpcnews.com/countries/usa/one_laptop_per_child_news.html

Africa is the richest continent of Gold Diamond,Petrol, Uranium,land and more.. Can we call them Third World country??? What we must do is to ask all the western country to freeze all the offshore bank account of each African President and Wire transfer the money back to Africa for the African people

Africa will be able to build they own Super Computer Chip,Car engin, Satellite and NASSA programm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0oe2-e_gnI

Eazy solution for the U.N .


My family has been accepted to get 1 basket from feed the children Can I get also qualify for one XO OLPC per Child.

so how much IS the laptop? Is it available to buy in Canada, or do you need to buy it for another child and recieve one for your own child? i like the idea of getting one for the less fortunate, but i am hoping i can also purchase it!

http://laptopgiving.org

$400 US so Canadians make out this time.

They should change the name to "the €100 laptop." :) Back when the OLPC project started, euros and dollars were a lot closer in value.

The fact that the laptop is costing quite a bit more isn't entirely their fault. Ever since the Bush administration got their hands on the budget, the US dollar has been in free fall.

I live in Hawaii Will it be posible for this laptop be sold here. Because i really really want this laptop.

I live in Hawaii Will it be posible for this laptop be sold here. Because i really really want this laptop.

$100 Laptop

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