One Laptop Per Child Analyst Meeting - Transcribed!

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Everyone's focus: OLPC XO

Are you wondering exactly what was said at the OLPC Analyst Meeting on Thursday when the OLPC Leadership revealed that the "$100 laptop" would actually be $175, Microsoft runs on the OLPC XO, order numbers have changed and there could be XO's in USA schools?

OLPC News received exclusive audio tapes of the meeting, and is transcribing them on OLPC Talks as they become available. Head there now to read exactly who said what about OLPC's technology and production plans.

Here's a few choice quotes to get you excited:

  • Nicholas Negroponte on OLPC price: September 20th it starts, then a break, then it ramps pretty quickly up. Currently it's scheduled to ramp up almost immediately to 400,000 a month.

    Question: Would that price go down if more countries said yes?

    Negroponte: Insignificantly. And the reason is Quanta is such a big player, they've got their suppliers ready to give them the large number price on most things?

  • Christopher Blizzard on OLPC software updates:We're going to try to maintain a very small core, we'll do updates as single bundles, sort of the way the Mac does, if you've used a Mac and you've updated the software on it, it basically says “You haven't updated, available, would you like to install?” And that's it…

    Questioner: “Is RedHat itself doing the updates or you using some RedHat network?

    Christopher Blizzard: We will be doing the updates, yes.

  • Walter Bender on OLPC testing: Well there is 200 in Brazil, 200 in Argentina, 200 in Uruguay, 200 in Nigeria, 200 in Pakistan, 200 in Libya. I think there is something on the order of 50 in Thailand, on the order of 50 in somewhere in Palestine, there is a bunch in Rwanda, There is... then there is a gazillion of them out in the development with the developers. But those are the major school parts.

    Woman 1: [inaudible] Have they been there for a year?

    Walter Bender: No, No, No, No. They have only been there for... the longest one has been the one the Thais have been doing longer than anybody else. It's been in [?], I think they have had them for maybe three or four weeks. The thing that is kinda neat in Nigeria they had them and right after they got them, maybe a week after they got them, they started a one month holiday. So the kids took them home.

  • Mary Lou Jepsen on OLPC technology: The screen is 7.5 3x4 so it is more 30% more area than the last screen. It's 200 DPI which about 5 times the resolution of your screen which is 72 probably, why is 72 5x? Because it's X and Y.

    The reason we went high resolution is part of the justification of the expenditure of government for book replacement. The number one reason we prefer to read on paper rather than on a screen, so it's stunningly higher resolution, color translucent mode is about 800x600 up to XGA and that is 1024x768, it's a smaller screen so the pixels are more dense.

    The center area of the touchpad is touch-sensitive. Across the whole thing you can write so you can learn to write with a stylus, and that's the whole length of the screen – 6 inches.

And if you use any quotes or information from the transcripts, do be sure to reference OLPC Talks. It is your source for presentations on the One Laptop Per Child, Children's Machine XO by OLPC's leadership, including MIT Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte, transcribed for non-commercial study and investigation, commentary and criticism

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for the transcripts. They are super, and they answer a whole lot of questions.

Mary Lou Jepson:

"So there's high bandwidth between the X-Os and then there's backcalls to the Internet. One laptop's connected to the Internet, they all are and the speed of the Internet is based on the width of that one.

We're getting the quota of about 10cents per child, per month to have access."

= $6.00 per five years. A bit lower than some of the other estimates we have seen.

just some corrections: it's UrUguay the south american country, and Porto Alegre, the brazilian city. Unless you are translating it, when it becomes Port Happy. ;)

Eduardo, I will believe those connection costs when I see them. Outside of Brazil, Internet connectivity isn't anywhere near 10 cents per child unless you have 30 kids sharing a 14.4 dialup line, which makes it pretty much useless.

Alexandre, errors fixed now.

now instead of 1 laptop per child, it has become 1 laptop per 1.75 child. i simply don't get the idea of providing laptops to children of the third world when they still lack the basic needs - medicine, food, lodging... the money would be better used for something else, anyway, what use is a computer without internet? who is going to pay for their internet access?

Thanks a lot for posting these transcripts, they are a really excellent source of information from the project principals. Hopefully they will post them on the OLPC wiki as well to complement the news updates that they publish.


I emailed Jepson to ask about this:

"Dear Mary Lou,

"There has been a disagreement at for a good while over how much internet connection would cost, with some claiming it would be over $100 per year per child.

"In your talk to the press a few days ago (the transcript is at you said it is only ten cents a month per child. So I posted a comment stating that, but then Wayan Volta, who runs olpcnews, rejected this, claiming it is at best for Brazil only and so not at all representative:


"I am wondering if you could give us a definitive quote for internet connectivity costs for the typical case, at least an estimate since I imagine it is still being worked out for most countries."

Here is her reply, in full:

"The typical case is about $0.10 per child per month. We are working fairly broadly with infrastructure and service providers globally."

So it seems that it really is that low, and for countries in general.

And again,I will believe they can actually get Internet access costs that low when I see it.

Of course, if they want to split a dial-up line 30 ways to get to the desired price point they could. But realistically, VSAT, the most common satellite connection is $300/month for 128K, worldwide.


I decided to contact the person at oplc who is actually handling internet connectivity, Michail Blestas. His official position is Chief Connectivity Officer, and in June, 2006 he said,

"A big, important piece of my work is to persuade telecommunications companies to make that bandwidth available for this kind of work and I am having relative success; especially with satellite companies that have lots of empty transponders and also with cellular phone companies. MTM in Africa is going to do a pilot with us selling excess or unused capacity at very low cost."

I emailed him and here is his full reply:

"I can't really give you a definite quote because Internet connectivity costs will vary from country to country. Regardless of where you are though, you can have decent connectivity with a ceiling of $1/month/child and in a lot of places $0.1/month/child is perfectly realistic.

"We have schools with laptops right now in South America, where the Internet connectivity cost per month is somewhere between those numbers

I would agree that if you have to pay $300/month for 128Kbps of Satellite bandwidth, those numbers don't sound realistic, however we can do a lot
better than retail prices."