Buying a OLPC $100 Laptop

   
   
   
   
   
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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:
On reading a 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:
olpc ebay sales
If Nicholas Negroponte will not sell you a $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:
Currently only rumors and suggestions buried deep in press releases and official quotes, there is the possibility that the OLPC technology will emerge as a low-cost computer for the developed world set. Most likely running Windows and built for more Western style tastes, these consumer edition OLPC laptops may start to appear a year or more after the initial OLPC's.

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.

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44 Comments

There is a fourth way to get an OLPC laptop: Register as a developer for some project that requires the hardware rather than the emulator. You have to be convincing, of course, preferably by knowing what you are talking about and actually meaning it.

Or you could try to get an actual job with OLPC, but you have to be really good to do that.

Oh, yeah, another thing. Thailand hasn't actually signed a deal yet. There are a lot of rumors about deals floating about just now, all of them explicitly denied at http://www.laptop.org. Apparently in what is (laughingly) called reality, OLPC doesn't plan to sell any units until they have some fully tested, and know what Quanta's production capacity will be.

"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!"

..um, aren't they supposed to be for children in under developed countries? meaning if you have one, then a child somewhere doesn't? this is the biggest hurdle I see for the Children's Machine, getting past the self centered gadget whores.

Not sure why they will only make this available to governments...why not to anyone willing to pony up a $140 million?

Why should they care? The point is to drive the cost down by creating mfg efficiency...who cares where it comes from?

What are us kids missing that you old guys know???

I agree with Chad...If no one is there to purchase these, then the whole project will go down the tubes. I don't think it's fair, however, to charge $300 for something like this. That defeats the purpose - I could buy a POS laptop for that much that does a whole lot more on eBay. Maybe like $160-$180 plus shipping.

This is a great idea, but I don't see it being anymore than another bribe to turd world countries to love democracy and to play nice with America. Getting a corrupt foreign government to fork over their money to purchase 1 million of these gadgets for their children's benefit would be the same as asking them not to rob the west of humanitarian aid. They ain't gonna do it. If they did do it, they would accept the finiancial contributions that would be required from us in order to facilitate it. $140 a unit is asking alot from governments whose citizens barely make twice that in 8 months. Why not skip the middle men and just get a federal grant to give them away with the beans and rice?

"..um, aren't they supposed to be for children in under developed countries? meaning if you have one, then a child somewhere doesn't? this is the biggest hurdle I see for the Children's Machine, getting past the self centered gadget whores."

I think they're making more than 10 of them, so there might be enough to go around.

Many of this laptops will be sold or traded for food or even booze, so OLPC should sell it to us (U$250 is more thant fair).

With such a cool gadget in Christmas, Zunes, iPods and HD-DVDs will be history.

Hey am in the developing world (CapeTown) and yes a gadet whore too :) so put me down for one

i want one!

Me, I suspect that most of the clamoring "gadget whores" will be fecklessly disappointed in the real live 2B1.

It is not a performance machine.

A 400 MHz Geode processor is on par with what cranks a smartphone; only most smartphones have exhaustively rewritten, highly optimized applications suites and a lot fewer display pixels to manage than the 2B1. Your favorite Linux programs will crawl on a 2B1, or might not even compile successfully without considerable tinkering.

The screen is small and will not be as pretty as what you see in the photos. Negroponte has said that he wants to relax specifications on the number and proximity of blown pixels to keep costs low, so it's likely the majority of 2B1's will have noticable screen blemishes. Also the real displays will have an unsightly amount of black matrix around the subpixels, making the color display mode look really grainy.

Perhaps its sexiest feature, the bit-torrent-like mesh-networking protocol won't even work with conventional WiFi gear. With minor effort you could convince your PSP to IM with it. That might impress your fellow whores for a weekend at best.

And as for obtaining 2B1's on eBay: don't count on it. There is a suprisingly long list of merchandise already banned from eBay, the 2B1 would simply join that list at Negroponte's suggestion. Google would certainly ban them too; Yahoo and Microsoft are 80% likely to fall in line.

It is of course possible to find auctions of eBay-banned items anyway, but always expect shaky dealings with scam-artists and pranksters in such backchannels. You'll lose a lot of money-orders before you score an actual unit.

Or you can just wait. Quanta execs have expressed keen interest in applying what they learn from building Negroponte's machines to products of their own design, what they call "toy products". Once the supply chains start rolling they will likely test a plethora of variations, right up to offbrand lowend sub-notebooks using the 2B1 display.

It would be nice if OLPC would agree to sell it to the
"developed countries", for example: EU or the UN, would order them and people would buy them for lets say the suggested 300$ or 420$ as of now. And the EU/UN, would subsidized it too people in countries based on the current exchange rate between where the user is lives and for example the value of the euro or dollar, and the consumer price index (dont know the english word for that, hey im just an uneducated "swed" ;)
Hence OLPC would extend itself too the meaning "One Laptop Per Citizen".

And as I commented on a other article here on olpcnews.

Quote:
"I wonder... Let's say that OLPC, WOULD agree to sell the 2B1 to "developed countries", in one million quanties for a higher price, so that it would support the project and _everyone_ could get one of their own, the right way, of course. Were I live (Sweden), people would most likely want our government to give out more and more information on what they are doing.

I guess we are not unique in that perspective, AND when I say that alot of people, don't really feel that they can influence our politics. The whole "oh damn this left/right wing"-thing. It's plain stupid, we should focus on issues. Right/Left wing politics are relics of the past. People are sick of it. We have an election this year. So people are "scratching heads", over here. People would sooner or later want to have the possibility to vote in more or less of a "direct democracy nature", so I wonder if it would _only_ be the dictatorship govs, that would not like the idéa of people having the ways and means of influencing politics. It's only a mather of time before we can do secure voting on all sorts of diffrent political issues. The question is "how" and "when"? Not "if".
End of quote.

Oh btw, needless too say, I want one? :) Regardless of the "slow" processor and so on (you could put a usb wlan/whatever stick into it). It's a fantastic idéa and the symbol, the laptop, is really nice, and the number of people using it who give value too the symbol and the idéa. It also have all the "bells and whistles" too use the things, I have on my crappy and halfbroken pc today.

We know you produced laptop with pince 100 USD for children in OLPC.
Our company very treasure this laptop (2B1 The Children's Machine. We want to buy it for sample. Then We can work together for projectes in my country.
Wait for your answear !!!
mail to us,
or contact our adress:
TAM NHAT MINH copany, 120 B Le Thi Rieng St, Ben Thanh ward, distric 1, Ho Chi Minh city, Viet Nam.
phone : 084 8 9256727
fax: 084 8 9356726

I'd like one too please. email me the information.
Thank you.

OLPC is a GREAT IDEA !
but to persuade the goverment officials to spend such a big sum of money, someone has to provide them with all the information possible about the computers (also the working model).

If Quanta doesn't make a 100-200 laptop, someone will. There is not really any need for the kind of power and features that exist in today's laptops. I remember when 200mhz was enough for most applications.. of course web applications have changed since then considerably. The only thing I don't like about smart phones and pda's is the screen side. I need at least 640x480 or 800x600 with at least a 10" screen to be happy.

[quote]Oh btw, needless too say, I want one? :) Regardless of the "slow" processor and so on (you could put a usb wlan/whatever stick into it). It's a fantastic idéa and the symbol, the laptop, is really nice, and the number of people using it who give value too the symbol and the idéa. It also have all the "bells and whistles" too use the things, I have on my crappy and halfbroken pc today.

Posted by: Daniel Martensson on August 30, 2006
[/quote]

To those who resent the idea of people in "developed" countries getting one, or adults, or techi-geeks: Consider this: The software is all open-source. The more adults and "geeks" playing with them, the better, because they'll be able to tinker with the software and make improvements. The more people using them on a daily basis, the more improvements will be made.

I didn't mean to imply that Daniel Martensson was one of the people resentful of adults owning one. I quoted him to use him as an example of an adult who wants one. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

And another thing: Why does the money have to come from the government of a poor nation? It sounds like a contradiction to me: They want $100,000,000 and they'll only take it from a country that can't afford it. The first wave of laptops should be bought by money donated by some rich person. Most rich people have more money than they know what to do with. This will give them something good to do with it.

heck, what about the adult working poor in developed countries?

i'd dearly love to have something like the OLPC for $200 or so. i've been looking at the Nokia 770 (US$359), but the OLPC sounds like a better solution.

(posted from pieced together hand-me-down junk dial-up computer running $1.95 Linux with failing CRT monitor. all of which is to say that i certainly ain't no gadget whore, but i'd love an OLPC.)

I want two. One for each of my little sisters aged 12 and 10. They don't live in a third world country. Their house has one computer which is locked down tight by my parents. The ability to have a laptop which they can tinker with, which doesn’t cost just enough money that parents will prevent access and keep them from learning anything useful about it is priceless to me.

The countries which pony up the money will end up with a vaster crop of engineer and science driven minds in one generation. I think the US should buy a million and we can work on the underprivileged kids of our nation.

Anyone ever read "The Diamond Age"? Feeling some parallels here to the mouse army :)

yeah id appreciate one of these laptops, sign me up. this gadget seems to provide all the required tech at a minimal price, good one MIT seems you have the best intentions.

Hello !

I am highly interested to purchase one laptop, in the budget range up to 300 USD. If you will have any further infos, please drop me a line to my email.

Regards, Jan (Slovenia)

I vote for providing US poor kids with them too!
I want one because they are 'basic'- most of us don't need all the bells & whistles that come on our laptops anyway......if we had something lightweight to carry that was larger than that silly phone viewer with replacement cost low it would become the new 'Slate'
and used everywhere!

Sign me up!

yeah. They sell that to anyone for sure. I mean, why not? It will end up be sold to everyone one way or another. Legally or Ilegally. Just like e-mac, which was supposed to be educational only, but ended up being sold to virtually anyone. I think all this fuzz and waiting is just because they couldn't make it really viable. As soon as they can it will be out on the streets. Hopefully soon.

I'm a student, have no money, find this project, and what i see... to buy this notebook i need 300$ - where i will get this money? why i cant buy olpc for 100$+chip?

Sign me up for the $300 deal. If they want to make the numbers to keep the cost down they will have to sell thim in the states.

i think they should sell them for just $100 US in the US. i'm sure everyone around the world would appreciate it! i'm a 14yr old from New Zealand and i would LOVE one. sort of-back to basics. like when you get and old atari from a second-hand shop, plug it in, and jump up and down 'coz you can see a few blurry lines of retro gaming on your tv...

i'm sure schools all over the world could be benifweted by them, the 'mesh' network would help save paper by elimenating notices and using the 'mesh' network to send them around. and if a student is not in range (ie-away for the day) when they come back the next day the other olpc's will pass on the message, sorta like a virus but good.

also-$100US is almost $250 or so NZ, i don't want to pay over $750 or so for one of these when i could just buy an= jornada of www.trademe.com or ebay.com!

Many of us know Python, C, and learned 80x86 assembly in school; so more geeks using them on a daily basis means more improvements and more bugs found.

It cannot be compared to a used laptop. It is durable, long batt life, and runs Linux out of the box.

eMail me if they can be had -- I bet the New York Times and media hype have pushed the number of buyers well above 3,000 now.

My $300 second hand Toshiba laptop (running Ubuntu Linux) does far more than an OLPC laptop. Why would wealthy people want a laptop that has limited storage space (and needs a USB Thumb drive), runs an operating system/desktop specifically designed for kids, has a wireless mesh network instead of the normal 802.11g, runs a processor with similar performance to a Pentium2 500MHz chip, has a rubber keyboard! (good god...).

If you only have $100 to spend, go visit Ebay. There's thousands of laptops with similar hardware specs to the OLPC.

I believe that they should release the laptop on the open market and take orders, this will cut down costs as i'd think their orders would double and the delivery of the $100us laptop could be possible, i think if it could do simple word processor stuff internet and email it could be an essential for every university student...

PS i want one and i'm glad to see a company rethink the laptop, i have owned two laptops and the design still isn't resolved... i think the 100 buck laptop resolves some of these issues...

why don't they manufacture them in a 3rd world country to keep down costs more???

I don´t know a lot about how to buy these computers, but I know it would help a lot of people in Developing Countries like mine(Brazil). I want ti give one idea. Why not sell them to people who can buy it and make this people buy one more, or two more to give to people who need it.

I would love ot have one also and would be happy to pledge the cost of a couple more.

dev

i am from amravati city and i wana to sold olpc in my city.what i can i do for it.

I really wonder. If these child get the "free" laptop. what would they do?

I can see evil merchants tell their parents (before the kids can even lay their hand on the box) that they'll buy them for $10-$50

*Deal*

then we'll see OLAP flood on eBay for $200-$300

Only way to reduce this problem is sell OLAP in NA/EU/other developed countries for a reasonable price.

This is truly revolutionary.

A truly cheap real computer like OLPC could kill Microsoft and Intel. This is for all of you Softie-haters. There is no need for a U.S. version to run Windows, either!

OLPC could also could kill Intel, and I have all of the details on my own site and cheap-computer blog at: http://home.earthlink.net/~moores-law/

If you like the OLPC blog, you might love mine!

Thanks,

Clayton

I love the OLPC idea, as i have been toying about the idea of building working computers from scrap to give to the poor communities.

But i believe the OLPC project is greatly flawed.

Not in technology, not in willing participants and not because MIT cant do it.

It is the ASSUMPTION that governments of third world countries really CARE ENOUGH to buy the OLPC. And in bulk orders......... unlikely... unless the money is from the UN and they get to keep 20% of it.

I would love to have such backing on such a worthy cause - to bridge the tech gap.........alas i think my idea will take BETTER root through simple painstaking act of giving, through a structure of people who ARE GIVING ALREADY who finance their works through donations as little as USD500 per month.

OLPC will fail because of infrastructure and the naitivity of the outside world......nothing more.

And i wish the team all the best....as they have started a tech trend that will take root soon.

I think the OLPC is a great idea. Of course there will always be questions as to what their "true" intentions are, but that's human nature. Especially for those of us who live in the US. We are constantly being told one thing, and the money ends up going some place else.

In regards to the purchase options, I really hope that option 1 is true. I don't care if I've got to pay full price for one of these things. Heck, I'd pay $1,000 for one just so long as they send 1 to a child. Even better, I wouldn’t pay anything unless I get the tracking numbers of the notebooks being sent to children. I want to make sure myself.


This could potentially start a very positive chain of events in a number of less fortunate countries from the top down. Hopefully their goal is to empower those who are less fortunate with a tool that for strengthening their communities from the inside out.

If that’s not what it’s for, I don’t want one. If it is, they need to quit thinking about production and start shipping these things out! If I had the kind of money they probably bring in from donations, I would have shipped them a long time ago. There would be support staff monitoring them, if errors occurred, use that money to pay for the shipping too in order to have them sent back into repair, send them back, have them use them. We need to get this stuff moving, why sit on a revolutionary idea that could potentially help millions? The only reason I've got, is MONEY!!!

Quit thinking about money and gadgets for God sakes, and ship the dang things!

i think this is a great project and the laptops look so cool. it has great potential (i sooo want one) but they need to sell them to people in order for it to work. i'd pay 300 dollars if they other 200 went to needy kids!

i think this is a great project and the laptops look so cool. it has great potential (i sooo want one) but they need to sell them to people in order for it to work. i'd pay 300 dollars if they other 200 went to needy kids!

I need one laptop for my children, if you want to. Thank you very much.

Thank you for interest in purchasing One Laptop Per Child, Children's Machine XO. And thank you for reading this post to the end of the comments.

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