Now that Thailand is testing 530 laptops, we should start to see real One Laptop Per Child laptops in limited production this fall.
Very much beta, I'm sure, with glitches in both hardware and software, but functional and definitely the coolest must-have techno-toy for the hard core geek. Can you say "Christmas shopping frenzy"?
Of course there is only one small problem. Nicholas Negroponte will not sell the $100 dollar laptops to you. First, because they will not be $100 dollars, more like $140 + shipping, and then he'll only sell them to governments in 1 million or more unit blocks. Oh, in case you're wondering, OLPC doesn't have any government orders yet.
Still, I know you want one - I know I do. And where there is a demand, there will be a supply, and we do have three options.
- OLPC Laptop Purchase Option No. 1:
- Wall Street Journal article on the One Laptop Per Child project, Mike Liveright came up with an interesting twist. Pledge to buy one laptop for $300, with the other $200 going to buy two for children in the developing world.
Mike Liveright's effort is totally unofficial, it is not endorsed by One Laptop Per Child and the logistical hurdles of purchase and deliver of either set (the one to you or the one to kids) are unknown.
Also, it doesn't look like Mr. Liveright will make his target of 100,000 laptop purchase pledges by his self-imposed the 31st October 2006 deadline. As of today he has 3,028 people signed up, but needs an astounding 96,972 more.
- OLPC Laptop Purchase Option No. 2:
$100$140 laptop, there are others who will. It may not be pretty, it may not be right, and it may not be legal, but the second the OLPC laptops are delivered to governments there will be leakage.
Maybe a few are given to Ministers for their own personal use, or to be given to their friends. Maybe a few are given as "gifts" to those who need to be convinced in national or local governments. Maybe families see the present value of the laptops in food as greater than the future value of their children's education. Maybe a few are stolen outright by thieves (a option acceptable to the OLPC management).
No matter how it happens, there will be laptops for sale in the countries they are given to. First to the opportunists, then to traders, and finally sold to you, either in a market in the country, or in time on eBay.
- OLPC Laptop Purchase Option No. 3:
Watch Quanta, the OLPC laptop OEM for hints and suggestions to timing, features and price. Or better yet, Dell and HP for screaming and backstabbing if the price undercuts their already cheap notebook prices.
Of those three options, which one will I choose? I put my money, probably $300 or so when you include shipping, on OLPC Laptop Purchase Option No. 2, eBay. In fact I'll say it right here and now and cut out the eBay middleman.
I wanna be the first kid on my block to own a One Laptop Per Child production-level laptop and I'll pay $250 + shipping for one before Christmas. I know the perfect kid (at heart) for it too!
If you want one (or more) also, let me know it in the comments section below. I'll be happy to arrange a bulk order and teach OLPC arbitrage while I'm at it.