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Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology For India's $35 Tablet 104

Posted by timothy
from the so-happy-togeeeether dept.
angry tapir writes "One Laptop Per Child wants to join forces to help develop the Indian government's planned $35 tablet. In a congratulatory note to the government, OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte said the world needs the $35 tablet, and he offered the country full access to OLPC hardware and software technology."
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Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology For India's $35 Tablet

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  • Oh well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vahokif (1292866) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:04AM (#33108076)
    I guess it'll be the India's $200 tablet now.
    • $70 - they only double...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by FatdogHaiku (978357)
      As long as it will run Windows 7.
      OK, so now it's a $450 tablet...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Locutus (9039)
      no, the $100 laptop ended up costing $180 but simpletons like to round up to $800. And if you really wanted to use that "logic" then the joke would be, The $35 tablet will end up costing $100.

      FYI, the OLPC jokes are sore spots for many because of how Microsoft and Intel came in and destroyed the customer base for the project with false claims of better products which never existed. It took over a year for the great software company called Microsoft to get Windows XP booting on the XO. But that's about all i
  • by KingAlanI (1270538) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:09AM (#33108092) Homepage Journal

    It seems obvious how this might point the Indian project in the right direction, but will OLPC be able to learn anything form involvement in the ultracheap Indian effort?

    Joint ventures FTW!

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The OLPC principles are flawed.

      Before netbooks existed, I always said I'd buy one, or a few, just for a laugh.
      Then they come up with DRM to block a hypothetical second hand market, and that give 1 get 1 nonsense.
      Personally I think they should stay the hell away from the $35 tablet, least they pollute it with their retarded principles.

      And put them on amazon with super saver shipping. I'll buy 10!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I think you're missing the point of OLPC - it's not so affluent people can buy lots of cheap computers, it's to offer access to the less privileged in the world. If the way to do that is to provide mechanisms to prevent these being sold off on the second hand market by corrupt governments or individuals, or to protect the western markets of those who have generously contributed/discounted hardware and software to the project then that's a necessary evil that nevertheless allows some good to be done.
        • Yeah, sure. Except when all of those "mechanisms" lead to a stillborn result, guess what? The "less privileged" get fuck-all anyway. Nicely done there, Nicky.

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:16AM (#33108738) Journal

          I think you're missing the point of OLPC - it's not so affluent people can buy lots of cheap computers, it's to offer access to the less privileged in the world.

          Right. And the way to do it that stays is to flood all markets with cheap computers, driving prices down, so that the less privileged in the world can afford to buy one. A successful example of that is the adoption rate of cellphones in Africa.

          As for the efficiency of all-planned and overprotective approach... how well is OLPC doing today, again?..

        • by jonbryce (703250) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:41AM (#33108908) Homepage

          Yes, but allowing more affluent people to buy them as toys doesn't stop the poor people getting them, it helps them as they enjoy greater economies of scale, and more units to spread their fixed costs over.

    • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:25AM (#33108154)

      It seems obvious how this might point the Indian project in the right direction,

      What could India possibly learn from the rudderless OLPC project? They've lost their core software team, sold out to Intel then lost their support by foolishly trying to monopolise the low-end, sold out to Microsoft and then have been undermined by the MS drive for Windows netbooks, refused to deal with small deployments, *and* come nowhere close to their target price. About the only thing that has survived that project from inception is the glorious leader Negroponte. His promise today is worthless. The only thing they could learn from Negroponte is what not to do; over-promise and under-deliver, but unfortunately, given their silly promise of a $35 touchscreen tablet which they haven't got the tech for, it seems that boat has already sailed.

      What India should be doing with this is creating a smart machine for $35, without a touchscreen (impossible to get a good one at that price), possibly with something like a trackpad, but the input method doesn't matter - make it a good ereader and mandate that it is used by all schools looking to buy tech for education.

      That would give them the customer base to create a truly mass-market device, and the groundswell of interest and enthusiasm from bright young Indians to make it a success, and allow them to commission software for it that would really make a difference to education in a country which is dependent on it for its future. English is already the primary medium of instruction, and there are huge numbers of existing free texts in English which would make such a device incredibly useful to students everywhere, not just in India. Even just a web browsing device this cheap with a larger screen than a phone would be a breakthrough for many students.

      • by naz404 (1282810) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:46AM (#33108218) Homepage
        OLPC did not sell out to Microsoft. OLPC's policy is simply like this: If an organization buys OLPC XO-1 & XO-1.5 machines, they are free to do with them what they want, even install Windows should they choose (unlike the iStuff Apple does not want you tinkering around with and have to be jailbroken in order to do more stuff). You buy it, you own it and are free to install whatever software you want on it (whether open or proprietary), unlike a lot of gadgets today which you only seem to license from their manufacturers due to their DMCA and DRM hooks.

        Moreover, some governments requested that their machines run Windows, so how could Negroponte say no to that request from paying customers? (I don't think it ever happened though, haven't seen any XO-1s running WinXP in the wild. The XO-1.5s should be able to run Windows with their higher specs tho).

        I asked, AFAIK, NO ONE at OLPC has been working on Windows stuff, it was all up to the MS folks to make Windows run on the OLPC XO machines. The only work done by OLPC folks did to support Windows was to make the BIOS more compatible. One of the engineers at OLPC said that the changes the MS folks wanted to the BIOS would even prevent booting to anything else than Windows, so what the OLPC dude did was actually fix the BIOS so that it *could be* dual booted to both Linux and Windows as opposed to the MS folks' original plans.

        There's been a lot of hate thrown towards OLPC ever since the Windows thing, but really, everything they do is open source over there and nothing really came out of that Windows thing except negative public backlash.

        Now about selling to small deployments and individuals, IMHO this is something they need to do to make the platform survive. The smallness of the size of the developer crew at OLPC is simply ridiculous. More geeks need to be able to get their hands on these wonderful machines to get a healthy software and application ecosystem going.

        As for touchscreen, having monkeyed around with an XO-1 machine, I'd say it's a must-have when you twist the screen into tablet configuration. The gamepad buttons on it are simply not enough when you need to use the mouse.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          There's been a lot of hate thrown towards OLPC ever since the Windows thing, but really, everything they do is open source over there and nothing really came out of that Windows thing except negative public backlash.

          Which is exactly why they should not have bowed to ms demands in the first place. Ms and intel were never serious but tecognised that co-opting is a great way to kill a project like this. Olpc is already sleepwalking to failure, as evidenced by the size of its dev crew and real world deployment

          • I wish the Indian government would stop grandstanding in general...

            Take for example the Nano. Great, its cheap nice concept... So why are they running out of them? I would even like to see the bottom line on that car and I am willing to bet its a money looser.

            http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/07/tata-nano---worlds-cheapest-car----gets-price-hike/1 [usatoday.com]

            Here are the classic indicators; waiting list, price hike and very low sales. If the Nano had any profit Tata would be building them like

            • by oiron (697563) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:51AM (#33108642) Homepage

              *ahem* The Nano would be a Tata product, and Tata is a private company. It's like blaming Obama for the iPhone's antenna...

              And the point of the $35 device is not making money. It's a given that it'll lose money, since it's subsidized. The idea is to use it for education, and the government is willing to spend on that.

              Now, whether it'll actually be useful or not is a different question entirely.

              • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                by Anonymous Coward

                It's like blaming Obama for the iPhone's antenna...

                I'm actually surprised the ignorant Tea Party puppets haven't done that yet. Oh Look! There's Russia, right over there!

              • by socz (1057222)
                I think a better example would be "it's like blaming Obama for the Chevy Volt..." :P
            • by BangaIorean (1848966) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:35AM (#33108876)
              Actually, the TATAs underestimated the demand (don't ask me how and why - I don't know), AND had to move out of their planned manufacturing plant in the East Indian state of West Bengal. They threfore, have just one factory in the North Indian state of Uttaranchal to cater to countrywide demand. However, a new factory in West Indian Gujarat is almost complete, and once Nanos start rolling out of there, the waiting list will disappear :-)
          • by gad_zuki! (70830)

            >Which is exactly why they should not have bowed to ms demands in the first place.

            Who is "they?" The governments that buy OLPCs make these demands. Tell them "no, you must use linux" is the same as saying "Sorry, no sale." I think you'll find that in life people generally don't have the same OSS zeal people on slashdot do - and its a good thing.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          some governments requested that their machines run Windows, so how could Negroponte say no to that request

          Open your lips, touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth and exhale. That makes the "nnnn" sound. Then lower your tongue. You get the "ohh" sound. It's one of the easiest words to say.

          OLPC is an organisation built on principles, and supported by idealists. When Negroponte chose to betray the ideals that most of his supporters cherished, is it any wonder that the response was them to choose to

          • by naz404 (1282810)
            OLPC did not bow down to Microsoft. They bowed down to the request of governments that demanded that they be able to run whatever they bloody wanted (Windows) on the machines they purchase. Why is that a bad thing?

            Isn't this the complete opposite of the evil thing that Apple is doing now with the iPhone and iPad - that you be able to run only software Steve approves of and nothing else?

            This negative backlash on OLPC-Windows is twisted way out of proportion.
            • OLPC did not bow down to Microsoft. They bowed down to the request of governments that demanded that they be able to run whatever they bloody wanted (Windows) on the machines they purchase. Why is that a bad thing?

              Regardless of who the requests came from, trying to modify OLPC to run Windows pushed their devices up in price and put them in direct competition with netbooks, required them to run intel, etc, etc.

              This was a very successful attempt by Microsoft to poison the well at OLPC, and Negroponte fell for

              • by naz404 (1282810)
                Dude, the OLPC folks never modified the XO to run windows. All one of their engineers did was modify the BIOS to be a little more friendly for the MS folks, that's it. Windows did not jack up the price of the OLPC XOs, so throw that FUD misconception away.

                Also, it was the OLPC machine that created the entire netbook market. When ASUS saw that stripped-down OLPC laptops would be released to the market at such low prices, they leaped in and created the EEEs to take a piece of the apparently profitable pie.
            • by Rogerborg (306625)

              Why is that a bad thing?

              Well, for one thing, it killed the OLPC project by driving away most of the volunteer devs. You can tell that it's dead by the desperate scrabbling for attention, and the risible announcements about churning out $75 iPads (laughable as their "$100" netbook costs $400). It's gone, man. Just let it die with some dignity.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by scribblej (195445)

          If "...everything [olpc] do is open source..." then why do we have an article saying Negroponte has offered their knowledge? It's already out there, open, right? RIGHT?

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It was a sellout in the sense that the project appeared to leverage open source to gain a favorable agreement with MS, who didn't want to license copies of XP for $3, but submitted to the pressure of doing so when the project began to gather interest from the media and general public. What began as a goal of introducing computer and internet learning to children with no previous exposure, turned into a power grab for Microsoft. Had the Bill Gates Foundation offered unrestricted grants to the project or Mi

        • so how could Negroponte say no to that request from paying customers?

          Microsoft has done very well out of saying no to paying customers, especially when it comes to interoperability.

      • Re: e-reader (Score:5, Informative)

        by naz404 (1282810) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:13AM (#33108306) Homepage
        Oh, BTW, I've been using the OLPC XO-1 I have with me as a PDF reader. A touchscreen would be amazing for scrolling, panning and zooming. The mousepad and gamepad arrow keys are pretty stifling. The touchscreen would be so intuitive for kids, and best of all, will allow them to take notes in traditional fashion and enable them to sketch diagrams for their notes, something a keyboard and trackpad won't allow you to do.

        As for OLPC tech, the Pixel Qi screen is a complete game-changer and something everyone else on the market doesn't have yet (can't wait for the Notion Ink Adam android tablet which will have it). It's simply amazing how you can switch between colored backlit LCD to black and white low-power sunlight readable mode which *extends* battery life. Moreover, even the backlit LCD mode is sunlight readable. If you take your device outside or put it under very bright lights, it will show up as black and white and is still readable as opposed to normal backlit LCD screens.

        The wireless mesh networking technology used by OLPC is also something I want to see perfected across the computing world. The OLPC XO machines were built so that you can chain a bunch of them across a long distance to share and piggyback an internet connection that's available to only one machine, kinda like smart dust.

        Another thing, I haven't tested it, but under ideal conditions (think line-of-sight straight highway with no obstructions), the XO machines are supposed to be able to communicate across 1 kilometer. I'd believe it though as the XO picks up a *LOT* of wifi signals that my phone can't see. Something like 30:10 ratio.
        • Oh, BTW, I've been using the OLPC XO-1 I have with me as a PDF reader. A touchscreen would be amazing for scrolling, panning and zooming. The mousepad and gamepad arrow keys are pretty stifling. The touchscreen would be so intuitive for kids, and best of all, will allow them to take notes in traditional fashion and enable them to sketch diagrams for their notes, something a keyboard and trackpad won't allow you to do.

          This fantasy device sounds great - if you were talking about a $200 tablet, and it was runn

          • by cgenman (325138)

            Since when are touchscreens "the latest tech?" Touchscreens have been around since the 70's. My personal first touchscreen gadget was from the early 90's. Everybody and their kid has had a touchscreen DS for ten years.

            Keyboards are well established, but are fidgety to manufacture and have lots of moving pieces. A touchscreen, in theory at least, should be cheaper to make. It makes sense.

      • by jrumney (197329)
        Touchscreens aren't expensive. LCDs on theater hand are, and there is no escaping that.
      • So this comes to: "I will give you access to my failed open source project for free"!

    • by Burz (138833)

      A: How to market something cheap and flimsy to people as a way to stimulate the regional economy... via disposable consumerism.

  • by kyz (225372) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:11AM (#33108104) Homepage

    India is trolling - it can announce $35 tablets, even $0.00 tablets, but it sure as hell can't make any for that price. The components alone cost more than $35 [fastcompany.com], and that's when China makes them with slaves paid less than India will pay.

    Negroponte has been there, knows the truth, and knows that India is just there to swindle international news media to get attention for its own country. He's going to co-opt that attention for his own project. Good on him.

    • by naz404 (1282810) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:59AM (#33108256) Homepage
      This actually fantastic. The developer base left at OLPC is shockingly small and if they join forces with the India effort, they can really do a big impact with low-cost, energy efficient computing.

      I really hate how the hardware world has gone into faster, faster, more, more when it should be working on cheaper and more energy-efficient. I'd rather that Moore's law went into making chips at current speeds cheaper than constantly expensive chips at faster speeds. Instead, what they do is phase out slow-cpu tech and keep selling power-hungry speed demons

      On a related note, having an OLPC XO-1 unit in my hands, having gone through the internet on a Pentium 1 back in the 90s, I really hate the present AJAXification of the entire web - it's no longer possible to fully surf websites on a 400MHz machine like the XO-1 without having to turn off Javascript and Flash.

      Javascript programmers are doing the very same thing that gave Flash a bad name years ago: Bloat.
      • The problem is the motivation. Until the market pushes for cheaper and more energy-efficient, there isn't much motivation. From what I gather, trying to improve the speed while keeping the price as high as possible is more profitable than just letting the price slide and improving efficiency. Staying afloat financially in the high tech business is pretty hard as it is, so I really don't blame them for not going down on price if they can avoid it.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The problem is the motivation. Until the market pushes for cheaper and more energy-efficient, there isn't much motivation

          The market has pushed for cheaper and more energy-efficient, which is why so many of us now own netbooks. The problem is that there's not so much profit to be made there, so they are telling us we don't want netbooks, and making half-assed netbooks in an attempt to prove to us that netbooks suck. This is very much the same situation that we have with cars in America, but the computer makers are trying to do it to the whole world. Americans declared that they wanted smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, and car

          • by cgenman (325138)

            Intel's canoe lake [digitalhomethoughts.com] reference netbook looks fantastic.

            It's easier to make a given pricepoint faster, than it is to make a given power point cheaper. Once you've sunk the ridiculous fob plant costs, it's probably about the same cost to make 1" of an i7 as it is to make 1" of a 486. Add in all of the non-flexible details of manufacturing (soldering points, shipping, etc), and it makes sense that things get faster but not necessarily cheaper.

            The netbook makers are now pushing 10 hours per battery charge, with

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by naz404 (1282810)
              Price.

              The price of netbooks has significantly gone up, with the older, cheaper models being phased out, leaving only the more expensive new units on the shelves. The price of most netbooks now equal those of lower-tier cheaper "real laptops" (ordinary large ones) that have more horsepower.
      • I agree with you. Well, mostly. I have a hobby of looking up how much juice my electronics take before I buy them. I wanted to be able to play the most recent games at the same time, so it's pretty rough. Graphics cards tend to be real power slurpers these days, I had to look around to find one that wasn't too bad. I found a fairly good rule of thumb is to look at the amount of heatsink the thing needs. Inefficiency = heat, right?

        Meanwhile, I was quite excited when I found out the Wii takes 1/10th the

      • by Eil (82413)

        I really hate how the hardware world has gone into faster, faster, more, more when it should be working on cheaper and more energy-efficient. I'd rather that Moore's law went into making chips at current speeds cheaper than constantly expensive chips at faster speeds. Instead, what they do is phase out slow-cpu tech and keep selling power-hungry speed demons

        You haven't heard of the netbook, smart phone, and tablet crazes of late? There are thousands of companies around the world trying gain the upper hand o

      • See: Intel Atom.  Also all new generations of ARM chips.

        You're right about all the js, though.
      • i totally agree with you. dog poop bags [911savebeans.com] dog waste bags [911savebeans.com] biodegradable dog poop bags [911savebeans.com] poop bags [911savebeans.com] doggie bags [911savebeans.com]
    • India is trolling - it can announce $35 tablets, even $0.00 tablets, but it sure as hell can't make any for that price. The components alone cost more than $35, and that's when China makes them with slaves paid less than India will pay.

      A lot of cheap Indian made components combined with the cheap and/or free workforce of India -- they can certainly get closer to $35 than almost anyone else.

    • The components may well cost 35$, but I'm sure they excluded the price of the PCB and the machine time for mounting the components onto the PCB, thats a big chunk of money right there. Then you've got the assembly, logistics and distribution costs so that even with cheap indian labour I'm sure you'ill be much closer to 70$ than 35$.

      In sort its easy for the guys in the lab to look at the BOM and say 35$, but the reality is somewhat different.

    • Wow... that is some good insight. My first impression was, this sounds really benevolent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JohnBailey (1092697)

      India is trolling - it can announce $35 tablets, even $0.00 tablets, but it sure as hell can't make any for that price. The components alone cost more than $35, and that's when China makes them with slaves paid less than India will pay.

      Wow.. the guy compared prices for the iPad display, which is an expensive IPS panel, and the Kindle display which is an expensive e-ink display. Hardly an enlightening article, more a pratt blowing his own trumpet and being a dick head.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      India is trolling

      Can somebody explain why India needs a $35 tablet and the rest of us don't?

      India is just there to swindle international news media to get attention for its own country

      What does it benefit from this "attention"? Assuming India's press agent is actually the one behind this bogus story, which I doubt, what good does it do India to have this kind of story on obscure tech blogs?

      • by delinear (991444)
        If anything it's likely counter-productive. The only people who would be interested in this are geeks, who find it hard to believe this price is possible, and tablet producers, and they won't want to see their margins slashed to nothing trying to compete with a $35 tablet (and even if it never happens it still makes their products sound expensive). I fail to see how anyone benefits from this unless they can make it happen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AHuxley (892839)
      The components alone cost more than $35. Govs around the world eat cost to provide work, skills, tech, exports and eduction. They hope to get it back in a generation.
      Look at India and its pharma - from generics and anti viral drugs to world class developers in a generation.
      They are hoping for the same with this device.
      It might be expensive but long term, India learns a real OS and builds it own skill base, free of MS 'charity'.
      MS and its 'gifts' are just a gateway drug for back end severs and contracts
    • It's called Subsidises.

    • by Locutus (9039)
      let's take a quick look at that link:

      " A 4-inch screen for the iPhone 3GS costs $16."
      that sounds reasonable.

      " 8GB of RAM costs around $15."
      why on earth would this little device need 8GB of RAM? 512MB at most and 4GB of FLASH would easily work for the storage space.

      "Kindle's 6-inch e-ink screen (the Indian tablet looks like a seven-incher to us) costs $60"
      why would they want to use the expensive e-Ink screen? At most, they could use the Pixel-Q
      screen technology if they want to make it outdoors readable and f
    • by evilviper (135110)

      The components alone cost more than $35,

      They list a handful of completely unrelated parts, and complain THEY cost more than $35. This thing certainly won't be using an eInk screen, so quoting prices for those is FUD. It probably won't be using a high-capacity LiIon battery either, and a small NiMH battery is only a couple bucks (not $7.50). The $35 price tag for components is a stretch, but it's certainly within the realm of possibilities.

      Hell, I could do it if you want a low-end B&W LCD, instead of

  • Wat? (Score:2, Funny)

    by tom1974 (413939)

    I'm sure he means Intel hardware and MS software technologies.

  • Encryption (Score:4, Funny)

    by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:36AM (#33108370) Homepage
    Lets just hope this laptop only has support for yesteryear's encryption such as ROT-13 lest the Indian government causes a fuss about not being able to spy on OLPC user's traffic and outlaws its like they did with satellite phones.
  • Manufacturing? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Does India have any tech manufacturing base? No troll - sincere question.

    I know they've got keen engineering students who want that base to develop so they can work in it, but I can't think of any factories. Everything's in China, isn't it? In which case this is a pipe-dream promotion by the prof. It'll get friendly words from various Goverment officials trying to sound like they want to do things for education and manufacturing, but it won't get funding like the Space program does. (Space programs are rela

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Chrisq (894406)

      Does India have any tech manufacturing base? No troll - sincere question.

      I know they've got keen engineering students who want that base to develop so they can work in it, but I can't think of any factories.

      Yes [indiamart.com], Dell [huliq.com] does smone manufacturing there.

    • The Tata 'product' works pretty well on Indian roads... which is its target market.

    • by oldhack (1037484)

      I'm no India expert, but their economy had been geared towards self-sufficiency, and not so export-driven like China. They do have their share of manufacturing but they target domestic market, and as such, not of comparably high quality and sophistication as those of the Chinese who target the Western/rich and global market.

      In the recent years, though, good bit of FDI from Japanese and Korean multinationals had set up more modern and competitive manufacturing setup both for domestic market as well as fo

  • I wonder - will it run Flash?
    • by naz404 (1282810)
      According to this article [softpedia.com], it will run Adobe Flash:

      At the heart of the 10.5-inch tablet lies an ARM chip. The exact chip set to be used has not been disclosed, but it is known that 2GB of memory will be present to back it up. The display is a color touchscrenn with multi-touch support. Furthermore, the configuration includes cloud storage, 10/100 Ethernet, WiFi b/g , a so-called highly-customized operating system and even support for Adobe Flash. Thus, there will be no issues regarding online videos and interactive educational content. Finally, the device comes with a digital camera and compatibility with OpenOffice.org documents, Adobe PDF and various multimedia formats.

  • This statement from him is just a last ditch effort to recapture the media's attention after India's announcement challenged his position in two ways:

    1. It shows that a very large and very important developing nation does not believe that the OLPC project can provide the cheap access to computers that they promised.
    2. By having a price-tag which is 20% of that of the OLPC it shows just how exceptionaly expensive and overengineered the XO-1 is for it's stated purpose.

    By "offering the OLPCs technology to India", Ne

    • by takowl (905807)

      What was initially supposed to be a rugged notebook for developing countries ended up mostly being sold to mid-level countries such as Uruguay and Peru

      So you mean that they should have pushed it into places which couldn't afford it, nor the infrastructure to support it, and refused it to the places that wanted it? Sending laptops to a tiny village in Somalia with no internet connection would be a waste of time. Selling cheap computers to what you call "mid-level" countries like those in South America could do some good.

      Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, he's not offering them his help because he wants the attention, he's offering them help becaus

    • by Animats (122034)

      Somewhere during his quest for visibility - which was meant to give the OLPC project the needed funds and customers - Negroponte got addicted to the spotlight...

      No, he was like that in his Media Lab days, before OLPC.

      That's the big problem with OLPC - it's more about Negroponte schmoozing with heads of state, and less about shipping product.

      Another CEO with the same ego problem is Shai Agassi, of Better Place, the people with the electric car battery changing system. He's full of grand schemes, but

    • The OLPC is pretty much dead and has been dead ever since they sold out to Intel. What was initially supposed to be a rugged notebook for developing countries ended up mostly being sold to mid-level countries such as Uruguay and Peru.

      There has to more to it than that.

      The kid with an XO laptop is almost certain to be Hispanic-American and Roman Catholic.

      60,000 to Brazil. But over 500,000 to Peru. 100,00 units - of 1.5 million - went to Rwanda. But Rwanda is the only significant - confirmed - deployment of t

  • I mean really, sure the kids will learn about all this fancy electrical engineering and maybe one day they will figure out how to provide clean drinking water, build good hospitals and all that, but what's really important is shoving these kids into cubicals in Mumbai so they can code spambots. When are people going to learn that idealism is great but what really matters is greed and making money NOW. Not to mention, what kids really want is games: can you play Grand Theft Auto on one of these cheap lapto

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:50AM (#33108952) Homepage

    2001:
    ``A group of Indian scientists and engineers has developed a handheld computer to help the poor and illiterate join the information age.''
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1442000.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    2010:
    ``Both licensees may seem to have stopped actively marketing their Simputer devices''
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simputer [wikipedia.org]

  • Please take a look at those: http://bethstepsup.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] http://planet.laptop.org/ [laptop.org]
  • What India needs is one laptop and a projector per teacher/class and decent content developed centrally and a decent broadband infrastructure India has developed very good content for higher engineering education check http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/ [iitm.ac.in] or http://www.youtube.com/iit [youtube.com] and is planning a three tier structure to distribute the same to all engineering colleges. The $35 is the last link in this distribution chain for this content Unfortunately similar content is not developed for prima
  • What the world needs is a "free" tablet. Now that would be a kicker.

  • What the Indian government needs to do is come up with a linux distro that will run on old discarded hardware and contain educational applications. A lot of the costs involved in building a new computer platform are redundant when there are already a bajillion old discarded PCs that one can buy for around $35. One thing Indians and most developing nations are good at is fixing up junk and making it useful. A government supplied distro that comes with educational videos, sounds and images, a local copy of wi
  • Looks like our friend wants to de-rail the $35 computing device effort by luring them using his 'cheap' platform ;). All these 'cheap' computer makers like Negroponte will be the biggest losers if someone really makes a $35 computer. Stay away from Negroponte.
  • Now that India is getting on the techy-bandwagon, they'll probably start off-shoring THEIR tech support to America. Hope THEY have better luck understanding US than WE have understanding THEM!
  • I think that being able to type quickly and accurately on an actual keyboard (and 10 key) is a marketable skill that would be lost if the focus went to tablets.

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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