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$100 Laptop Repriced at $175 323

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the bait-and-switch dept.
prostoalex writes "The $100 laptop introduced by Nicholas Negroponte as part of the One Laptop Per Child program will end up costing $175, Associated Press says. The demand for the program is apparent as 'seven nations have expressed interest in being in the initial wave to buy the little green-and-white "XO" computers — Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Thailand, Nigeria and Libya — but it remains unclear which ones will be first to pony up the cash.'"
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$100 Laptop Repriced at $175

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  • by therufus (677843) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:20PM (#18894259)
    ...for the first person to complain that it doesn't run Vista.
    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:49PM (#18894595) Homepage Journal
      Or simply call it the £100 laptop.
      • by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:28PM (#18894945) Journal
        A hundred pound laptop? I thought these were for kids not weightlifters.
  • Why not....? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cyberbob2351 (1075435)
    Instead of:
    "one laptop per child"
    which are devices that hardly fit the description of "rugged"..

    why aren't we going for:
    "One desktop per family"?

    Much easier to repair when broken, and that lends itself better to donations of old equipment.
    • Re:Why not....? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:29PM (#18894381) Homepage
      Desktops are only more repairable if you have a geek-type house with a stash of spare parts. Try troubleshooting a desktop on a dirt floor in a mud hut and you'll find that it's a lot more delicate than a sealed unit. It looks to me like the OLPC is aiming at the sweet spot between 'rugged' and 'cheap', which will let the units get the maximum use per dollar in their target environment. Kind of like those kiddie computers you can buy (sealed unit, membrane keyboard, small LCD) but with enough grunt to be useful as an actual work or learning tool.
      • It's very hard to find mud huts in Argentina and I don't think there is a big fraction of the population living in huts in either Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Uruguay nor Rwanda. And I can promise you that if they were fixable in the field, there would be an cottage industry growing in a mattar of months.

        People don't want to be locked into something, so they fix things themselves.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by harrkev (623093)
        It isn't just spare parts.

        If we go for desktop machines, there are two approaches:

        ** Custom-built **
        All machines would be the same. Yes, you can swap parts, but the system as a whole will be more expensive. Pluggable cards means a bigger case (more money), more connectors (more money), more board space (more money), more mounting hardware (more money), and more complex assembly (more money).

        ** Ad-hoc systems **
        This uses hardware "cast-offs," such as outdated technology (would be great for the environment,
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Why are you not reading the FAQ [laptop.org]?

      Alternatively, if you're so smart - you obviously have all the answers - where's your program to help the uneducated poor of the world? Oh, right, it's easy to bag someone else's project than do something yourself.

    • Re:Why not....? (Score:5, Informative)

      by burns210 (572621) <maburns@gmail.com> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:07PM (#18894773) Homepage Journal
      which are devices that hardly fit the description of "rugged"..
      Have you actually used one? Like, at all? The machines are quite "rugged". Or were you just making a baseless claim?
      As for why not desktop machines? Power requirements and portability are two of the reasons.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Trogre (513942)
      Because "family" is an anti-socialist term and is no longer politically correct.

    • One problem is power. There isn't consistent power in many places. The OLPC unit has a wind-up crank for situations there is no power.

      One advantage is part of Jet Blue's maintenance model. Standardizing on one design means that parts are probably easier to manage and inventory, and training and documentation can be simplified. And if you had to, you can part out one device and possibly make five other broken units, assuming the broken part in each unit is different. Working with donated computers means
    • I recommend you check out the site on the Laptop. They have done away with the desktop. The whole notion of Desktop doesn't apply, as people move between communities (sometimes to travel for goods). Also some places will effectively have only one laptop per family, or multiple families.

      The laptops *desktop* is in fact a load of icons which show your position within the community of laptops. It is a very cool idea.

      As for Rugged. The laptops are extremely rugged and are designed to be very portable, work with
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:22PM (#18894283) Homepage Journal
    and thanks to Moore's law.

    This isn't news, they've been saying this for over a year now.
  • Expressed interest (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jamesl (106902) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:24PM (#18894297)
    Expressed interest. Expressed interest. Expressed interest. That's all we hear. Expressed interest. When's someone going to express a little cash?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jd (1658)
      Why cash? Shouldn't it be American Expressed?
    • by sukotto (122876)
      I'd buy 2 or 3 of these right now if they were available.
      • I posted an article about this a few days ago but it got rejected -- the company that's actually doing the manufacturing says that they're considering selling a few on the side to private individuals.

        Since the specifications are all open, there's nothing to stop them from just running off a few thousand on speculation when they're done with the ones they're making on contract for OLPC, if they think there's a demand.

        Since they're an OEM (a real OEM, not "we buy stuff and stamp our name on it" OEM) the big t
    • by griffjon (14945)
      Yes, developing countries should be lining up to take out loans to pay for a totally new piece of hardare with a new software interface as well in hopes that without any pilot projects or proven track records.
    • by Orlando (12257)
      According to this [itworld.com] article - The governments that have committed to buy laptops for their schoolchildren include Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand and Uruguay.

      So it sounds like governments are starting to put their money on the table.
  • by wmwilson01 (912533) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:24PM (#18894305) Homepage
    I think they should rename this to One Laptop per 0.57 Child
  • are sufficiently poor to warrant OLTP in USA.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      The only thing they want to help the USA out with is taking their money.

      Do you remember a while back were they were saying buy a OLPC for a kid for $200 or so? I'm wondering how long they have known about this price and sat on it?
    • by Kohath (38547)
      No. The "inner city schools" get about $10,000 per child per year in tax money. Quite a bit more than that in many places.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by photomonkey (987563)

      Fuckin' a, buddy. I'm all in favor of helping humanity, that is other humans, in any way possible, but every time someone looks to take on a humanitarian aid project they look to do it overseas.

      Our schools here in the US are total shitboxes (most of them, and not as bad as those in some other countries), we have starving people just like everywhere else, homelessness is on the rise, New Orleans is still somewhere between the stone age and the 21st century, etc., etc., etc.

      Keeping stuff like this out of

      • by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @11:58PM (#18895879)
        The best thing the federal government could possibly ever do for the public schools is actually put some funding behind the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and No Child Left Behind. They make a fuckton of demands on the public schools, but then they don't back it up with funding. It's been like that since the 70's. Frankly if you're going to place strict requirements on the schools that they educate *everyone* even at significant expense, you should put your money where your mouth is.

        Would you be upset if your boss told you "Okay bub, do this, this, and this. But I'm not gonna pay you for it since you're doing such a good job already."

        And as for our schools being shitboxes I've got a questionnaire I'd like to ask you:

        1.) Can you read?
        2.) Can you write coherently?
        3.) Can you do mathematics?
        4.) Do you have a job that is not simply menial in nature?
        5.) Do you have a decent understanding that there is a world outside your state?
        6.) Were your parents able to work while you were growing up?

        If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may have benefited from a free public education.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by photomonkey (987563)

          I did benefit from my education. I went to a shithole schools all the way up to my university years. There I learned that the system wouldn't teach me anything other than the fact that my education and my future were entirely up to me because most of the teachers, other kids and parents simply didn't give a shit.

          I spent much of my formative years outside of the classroom in the local library. Sure I played sports and videogames. I was a pretty well-rounded kid. No thanks to the schools I went to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515)
      You don't need a low power rugged laptop in a society with ample power and concrete floors.

      On the other hand, if you're interested in starting a project to help inner city schools, why don't you?

      • in one of such schools (CRLS, Cambridge, MA). How 'bout you?
    • by griffjon (14945)
      There are lots of programs aimed at expanding access in the US also, and Quanta, the OLPC manufacturer, is planning to sell OLPC-like computers for $200 next year
  • The good thing is, with the economics of scale and the ever decreasing price of computer hardware, the OLPC will finally be a $100 laptop in a year or two.
  • If there's really a market for these things, and if this is really the right price, why do they need these governments to sign on? Can't they just, you know, sell them to people? Why force them (via their governments) to buy one?
    • Re:Governments? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Original Replica (908688) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:43PM (#18894549) Journal
      why do they need these governments to sign on? Can't they just, you know, sell them to people? Why force them (via their governments) to buy one?

      I was under the impression that either the governments in question would be buying them or they would be paid for by charities. The families getting these laptops sure as hell don't have the funds to pay for them, so to the end user they will be free. That means you need some way (on site administration) for the "right" people to get the laptops, and you need a request for the charities to respond to. These two requirements are the job of the governments of the people in need.
  • €100 laptop? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ranger (1783) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:31PM (#18894403) Homepage
    The dollar has lost so much value it's no suprise that it's going to start at $175. I think they should have called it the €100 euro laptop. I heard they expected after mass production for it go from $100 down to $50. It'll get their eventually.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sumdumass (711423)
      Err, you mean the 128 Euro laptop. Or maybe the 100 British Pound laptop. This would place it more into realistic perspective. And I don't think the dollar slipping has much to do with it. There has been then 5 cents difference from the conversion rate in 2005 with the EURO when the OLPC started. To be frank, we are less then 10 cents off from the EURO coming into 2004 and IF you want to compare to the yen where some of the part will come from, we are less then 10 cents difference there too. However, we ar
  • Not enough (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ep0xi (1093943)
    I am on argentina and the Laptop is going to cost 175 dollars which here means 550 pesos which with the costs of translation (oil) and the taxes it will be at 900 pesos which is something like 300 dollars and 900 pesos is the cost of a Pentium 3 600Mhz with 128 mb ram and 20Gb hard drive. What is the relation Cost-Power of this Laptops? Either way if it is intended to be for poor people thats not the way to do it, and the worst i can tell is that poor people does not have credit cards like in other countrie
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by JeffAMcGee (950264)
      "and the taxes" ... They are selling these in bulk to national governments. I doubt that any government is worried about paying sales taxes to itself.
    • The *real* reason why Argentina is not buying: they are too cheap. They should be $200 instead of $175, that is, $175 for the manufacturer, and $25 for De Vido (*)

      (*) De Vido: Current argentine minister of infrastructure, accused of collecting some "extra" money in every government contract (for more info please google "argentina skanska scandal").
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fferreres (525414)
      Suppose they way just a little bit and they buy them at USD$150. Suppose you could buy 1,000,000 Pentiums...wow, no wait, better have another million kids close to technology for free! And the functionality is different. These are rugged notebook computers with low consumption tailored specifically at kids. I don't get your point.
  • by pschmied (5648) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:44PM (#18894565) Homepage
    It seems to me that they could probably get the first batch paid for by us geeks who have been drooling over the OLPC hardware for a while.

    Hell, I'd pony up ~$400-$500 for a unit. I wonder how many orders at that price point would be enough to get manufacturing cranking.

    Plus, from my way of thinking, the OLPC project could use some more content creators doing homebrew design on the OLPC hardware.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Short answer: the logistics of distribution make this impossible.

      Long answer: you would need some form of "pre-order" organisation that collects all the money and takes care of distribution. They would need to collect 3 million orders, secure the funds, then place the order with the manufacturer, get the units, box them, label them for delivery, arrange 3 million pickups.. pay for those pickups. Refund anyone who changed their mind. Locate others to take the unsold merchandise off their hands. Then, fin
  • ...If Microsoft talked for years about a "$100 .mp3 player" they were working on, making a big point about its price itself being a breakthrough, and then said as the introduction approached that it was really going to cost $175, what would Slashdot's reaction be?

    Shrug and say "it doesn't really matter, it's still cheap and the price will come down as economies of scale kick in?"

    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:02PM (#18894725) Homepage Journal
      Neither Microsoft nor Sony are charities trying to bring free education to the poor of the world.

      Why should we judge the OLPC project by the same standards that we judge multinational profit machines?

      Why do I even have to ask this question?

      What is wrong with you?

      Jesus H. Christ.

      • by JeffAMcGee (950264) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:51PM (#18895193) Homepage
        "I might get modded off-topic for saying this, but ..." on slashdot people regularly post the question "How would slashdot react if Microsoft did this?" This post is usually modded insightful because the mods see it as thinking outside the box—it looks like you are breaking away from the herd mentality when you post this question. The only problem is that people regularly post this question, or a paraphrase of this question, so it really isn't too insightful.

        This post usually gets one of two responses: "It would not be the same because..." or "Slashdot is not one person, the members of the slashdot community can disagree with each other."
    • by BenSnyder (253224) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:07PM (#18894777) Homepage
      I get your point. It's fun to try to kick a little Slashdot ass. But I'll take your question seriously and try to answer it.

      The idea of putting a laptop in the hands of somebody who can't afford the technology is very appealing. We like it. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel like we want to be part of that. Look at the other posts that say they'd spend $500 to buy one for themselves if they'd also send one to the originally intended recipients. That's a very strong statement of support. If the price goes to $175... well, who can really fault us for not willing to take back that we like the idea that low cost computers are being given to people who could really really could use them.

      It wouldn't matter who made the mp3 player. Nobody wants to hear about a significant price increase on a plentiful commodity like an mp3 player. There's too much competition and Microsoft, explicitly, has a long history of credibility problems with delivering on their marketing claims in their product in the first place.

      Aren't there a host of things missing from Vista? Aren't we all aware that the "revolutionary" new file structure got cut and that DRM was a priority? For Microsoft, you reap what you sow.

      So I reject your comparison. We're not assholes (as your suggest - or at least, not for this reason), we just want to see the OLPC thing succeed.
      • by Bryan Ischo (893) *
        My friend, that was a truly awesome post. Where are the mod points when you need them?!?! Can we do some kind of global query-replace on this topic and get some of these good comments on the top page in place of the lame "Soviet Union" joke rehashes??! Please?
  • by AaronPSU777 (938553) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:02PM (#18894729)
    I can understand the desire to get low cost computers into the hands of the underprivileged, really I do, it's an awesome goal. But I always have these nagging doubts if neutering the technology to get it to a cost they deem reasonable defeats the whole purpose. Remember when they tried to make those cheap internet appliances that grandma could use to check her email and surf the web? They had a dumbed down OS and scaled back hardware to make them cheap and simple to use, they also bombed horribly because they couldn't run any of the standard apps that a full on pc could. Same deal with webtv. So while this computer is cool how will it's usefullness fare long term when people discover they can't do all the stuff people are doing with their normal computers in the developed world?

    Best Buy is currently selling a laptop, retail!, for $399. $399 laptop [bestbuy.com]
    And the specs on it are actually not half bad, not as bad as you might think:

    15.4" screen
    1.5 ghz Via C7-M
    512 ram
    128 meg shared video
    DVD +/- DL burner
    60 GB HDD
    802.11 b/g
    10/100 ethernet
    v.92 modem
    Vista Basic


    Drop Vista and install Linux and you can save a few bucks, scale down the screen size and maybe eliminate a few usb ports and some other stuff, mass produce it and you could have a full on pc capable of running even windows vista for probably under 300 bucks. I have to think that something like that would be much more useful, even if you bought half as many it would still be better in the long run with it's upgradeability and standards compliance. Thoughts?
    • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @11:01PM (#18895325) Homepage Journal

      Best Buy is currently selling a laptop, retail!, for $399. $399 laptop [bestbuy.com]
      And the specs on it are actually not half bad, not as bad as you might think:

      15.4" screen
      1.5 ghz Via C7-M
      512 ram
      128 meg shared video
      DVD +/- DL burner
      60 GB HDD
      802.11 b/g
      10/100 ethernet
      v.92 modem
      Vista Basic
      ... Thoughts?

      Just one question: Where would you plug it in? Most of the people destined to use these have no mains power.

    • Drop Vista and install Linux and you can save a few bucks

      You mean add a few bucks. There's a price break for crapware. It pays for the cost of Windows and then some.

      neutering the technology

      No harddrive less memory, but better LCD, more efficient and flexible OS. Not to mention wireless meshing capability. It's specifically designed to interact with other devices of its kind and to display information - only allowing for simple mechanisms, crude mechanisms for data input.

      Its exactly like a high-end PDA.

      Is a PDA a neutered PC? Is a golf cart a neutered car? Is a housecat a neutered lion?

      It's a different beast.

      So while this computer is cool how will it's usefulness fare long term when people discover they can't do all the stuff people are doing with their normal computers in the developed world?

      "S'ils n'ont plus de pain, qu'ils mangent de la brioche."
      Assuming that they could get PCs, about as well as PDAs fare in the developed world. Really, though, the point is that every single dollar counts.
    • by Ian Bicking (980) <ianb&colorstudy,com> on Friday April 27, 2007 @01:55AM (#18896703) Homepage
      Here's the features I can think of that the XO has that the listed laptop does not:
      • Screen is readable in full sunlight
      • Power consumption is targeted at 2 Watts
      • Laptop can sleep while the screen stays on (e.g., when reading a book)
      • No moving parts
      • A minimal number of wires and connections (for instance, the motherboard is right next to the screen)
      • Water-resistant design -- you can pour a cup of water right over the keyboard without damage
      • 802.11s wireless, allowing connections with peers and connections to the internet via peers
      • The wireless routing stays on even when the rest of the laptop is off
      • Built-in camera/video
      • NiMH (or LiFeP) battery, to avoid the safety issues of Li-ion batteries; generally toxic components are being avoided
      • Targeting 2000 cycles of the battery (typical batteries are 500-1000)
      • You can use a stylus on the touchpad
      • Monitor revolves into tablet configuration

      If you want a scaled-down version of a normal laptop, the Classmate PC is basically designed like that. You can see a direct comparison in this table [laptopmag.com]. Frankly it looks clunky and lacking in creativity when compared to the XO.

      Generally the XO is designed for durability and low power consumption, not speed. It also takes into account its very specific target audience in many small ways. It's not a general-purpose machine, it doesn't have any commercial aspirations, it's purely a laptop for children, particularly those in developing nations.

      Unlike WebTV this has a very good screen -- it's small, but it's completely usable. It runs normal Linux applications (they don't fit into the environment that well unless you make some modifications, but they do run). The processor is x86. It has a reasonable amount of memory and disk -- small by today's standards, but still reasonable even by today's standards. 256Mb of memory is really quite good. Also, unlike those products, this is not a niche product. This is intended to be deployed in considerable scale, and so it's a viable target platform all on its own.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SolitaryMan (538416)

      Best Buy is currently selling a laptop, retail!, for $399. And the specs on it are actually not half bad, not as bad as you might think
      Do you think it will cost $400, if demand for it will be the same as for OLPC? Besides, $400 is still too much
  • RAM upgrades will continue to be sold at dollar-stores everywhere, but will cost $1.75.

    The original marketing strategy to nickle-and-dime buyers to death with tantalizing upgrades has been revamped to a dime-and-quarter schema.

  • From TFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by MonkeyINAbaG (705327) <slashdot@da-boREDHATm.com minus distro> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:31PM (#18894963)

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The founder of the ambitious "$100 laptop" project, which plans to give inexpensive computers to schoolchildren in developing countries, revealed Thursday that the machine for now costs $175

    AND

    Negroponte's team has always stressed that $100 was a long-term target for the machines, but recently publicized figures had put it in the $150 range. Negroponte says the cost should drop about 25 percent per year as the project unfolds. He added that Citigroup Inc. (C)'s Citibank division has agreed to facilitate a payment system on a pro bono basis; Citibank will float payments to Quanta and other laptop suppliers, and governments will repay the bank.

    The project is still on track to its price target of $100, it is still in BETA FFS!

    Quit with the FUD already! Theres nothing like working on something high profile to make you grow a bit of a distaste for /. hype!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MonkeyINAbaG (705327)
      Also, please remember, there is a NPO behind all this with the goal of decreasing the price as much as possible per unit, not a large company with the goal of trying to charge as much as possible to increase profits. It is a primary goal to make these things cheap, and maaaan THEY ARE COOL!
  • by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:55PM (#18895231) Homepage Journal
    I'd toss in my two cents worth on this issue. But with opinions hovering near three cents, I think I'll just save up for a better topic.
  • The concept and the product is actually very good but the project takes very little notice of economic realities. They should have designed two units, one slightly larger in plain black and the other in bright colours and smaller (as it is now). Sell the black unit at a premium price to raise capital and leverage the good will aspect of the product to make it a very enticing option. The internals of both laptops would be the same so it would mean they would reach a larger production scales faster thus savin
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fferreres (525414)
      They want part manufacturers to cooperate, and they don't want enter into a messy war with OEMs, and they do not do it for a profit, and couldn't do it for a profit (a retail/logistics organizations add a lots of costs, the same notebook could end up costing $400 or more to end users, without any benefit for the OLPC).
  • Yet another technology initiative that has come in late and over-budget.
  • Cheops' Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chas (5144) on Friday April 27, 2007 @12:26AM (#18896127) Homepage Journal
    Everything takes longer and costs more.
  • by MS-06FZ (832329) on Friday April 27, 2007 @11:56AM (#18901545) Homepage Journal
    "One Laptop Per Child" will change its name to reflect this change, it will know be known as "Four Laptops Per Seven Children"

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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