Who needs OLPC?

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I wonder about the future of the OLPC. I realize and support its intention and likely don’t understand the political, equity and pervasive nuances of the concept but with the cost of the project reaching $175 and deals like the following, is this going to be necessary? Take your choice:

We’ve already people taking advantage of this….if we could only convince school board and IT folks. So you may or may not have Windows? Who cares? Do you think the kids do? Okay all you smart folks, tell me why I’m wrong!

Update: As Steve’s comments bear out, I’m referring to the initiative in North America and Industrial countries.


  • In the US, you just may be right. We’ve got things like electricity in just about every corner of the map. But in third world countries, the fact that it is self-powered, and the unique nature of it’s de-centralized wireless networking capabilities make it suited for areas that won’t see WiFi or phone cables for decades to come. What good is a laptop if you don’t have electricity nearby? But if you’re talking about within the US strictly, I would tend to agree.

  • The XO *should be* much sturdier and cheaper to keep running over the long term, especially when compared to reconditioned or bottom of the line consumer laptops as you are doing above. I say *should be* because we won’t really know until it is in the field. It also includes many small features tailored to education, like a microphone jack that will also work as a voltage meter for sensors. And the long battery life will be a huge advantage. If it works, the power management on the XO will be revolutionary. And the display is revolutionary already…

  • Mike Culligan

    I completely understand the advantage of the self powered unit and its appropriateness for developing countries. However, the challenge of the One Laptop initiative is that (the last I saw) it required a minimum order of one million laptops per country in order to begin operations… correct me if this policy has changed. Given that only a handful of countries have signed in on that arrangement, the Compaqs and Apples provide an alluring alternative for the rest of the world.

  • Hmmm… Where can we buy imacs and Compaqs for less than $300??