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Portables Education Technology Hardware

1 Million OLPCs Already On Order 158

alphadogg writes "Quanta Computer has confirmed orders for 1 million notebook PCs for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The article goes into some background on the project, and lays out the enthusiastic adoption that the project is seeing overseas. The company estimates they'll ship somewhere between 5 and 10 Million units this year, with 7 countries already signed up to receive units. The machines currently cost $130, but with that kind of volume the original goal of $100 a machine may be viable. Even with the low cost, Quanta expects to make a small profit on each machine, making charity work that much easier."
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1 Million OLPCs Already On Order

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  • I Want One (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:26PM (#18030038) Homepage

    I still want one bad. I want them to sell them to geeks like us. I've thought of a few ideas on that front:

    • Overcharging to help pay for them for other countries or invest in more production
    • Make them a different color so it is obvious that they were purchased for individuals and not by a government
    • Sell lower power ones to us so software we write or help develop HAS to be nimble to run on our machines and so it will run even better on the real OLPCs

    My only hope that I know of right now is a contest [] to design a game for them in which you can win an OLPC.

    I really want one. I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it...

    Can't wait to see what kind of cool things people do with these little laptops.

  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:42PM (#18030340) Journal
    Now every kid can be molested through MySpace.

    What age are these targetted at? I honestly feel that, at least here in the US, computers are already too prevelant at the elementary level. Teaching kids computer skills is a noble goal, but IMO, not one they're ready for until, say, grade 9-ish.

    What ends up happening is they teach the kid to use a crutch. Instead of practicing arithmetic, they let kids in grade 3 (!) just use calculators. My kids only know the times tables because I *made* them learn it. Flashcards and practice, just like I did (I had a hard time with it too). They already forgive me for it. My son is seen as a "math prodigy", to use his teachers words - and quite frankly (not to denigrate him), his abilities are what I would consider average for his age. He isn't like moved on to precalculus on his own, or anything like that. He can add, subtract, multiply and divide simple numbers in his head. This makes him a prodigy in the modern US education system. ouch.

    Repeat for spelling. The school could give a shit. Here's how spelling is taught - "OK KIDS, CLICK SPELL CHECK". They're, there, their, who cares.

    Eventually, yes, computer skills become important, fundamental even. I just worry how they're to be used in class, that's all. I sure hope they aren't going to be expected to replace teachers, and I hope budget-strapped schools favor good staff over 100 dollar laptops.

    "One Laptop Per Child" just sounds so much like "No Child Left Behind" the mere association makes me raise an eyebrow.

    In the long run, though, it could be good for the US, if we can make the rest of the worlds children as stupid and ill-prepared as our own. The question is, how to instill that false sense of entitlement in kids around the world.
  • by cmeans ( 81143 ) <cmeans@intfar.PARIScom minus city> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:45PM (#18030374) Homepage Journal

    Quanta expects to make a small profit on each machine, making charity work that much easier.

    Can it still be considered Charity [] if one is making a Profit []? Does it count as charity if you're just not making as much profit as you'd like?

    Seems to me that they're confused.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:12PM (#18030850) Homepage Journal
    Instead of faster, faster, faster, the OLPC is using Moore's Law for cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. Currently the OLPC costs about $130 per unit.. if demand keeps up, in 12 months we can expect that to drop to the goal of $100, but then what? That's right, those components which fall under Moore's Law (the ram, the cpu, the flash) will just keep dropping in price.
  • by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:23PM (#18031030)

    I want them to sell them to geeks like us. I've thought of a few ideas on that front

    I think the OLPC project is making a huge mistake if they don't throw these laptops onto the commercial market, for anyone to buy.

    Why? Because of the economies of scale, and extra funds raised. These laptops get cheaper the more you make. If you can sell another hundred thousand of them on the commercial market, produced numbers go up the same. Whatever number you were producing before, these will become cheaper as a result. Perhaps just a little, but when you're aiming for a $100 laptop, everything helps.

    Secondly, you can sell them commercially for more, make a profit, and use that profit to give the charity/education part of the project a boost. Others have suggested to double the (commercial) price, and use it to send an extra laptop to developing nations. I think maybe extra funds would be better used for supporting OLPC's already out there, for example by supporting communication infrastructure, software projects targeting the OLPC, or developing new uses/markets for these machines.

    And yes, I'd like one too. And not just geeks, I think this would be a perfect tool for grandma's and some percentage of ordinary home PC users. To many people, a PC is still a massive, complex, and intimidating machine. The $100 laptop is smaller, quieter, energy-efficient, likely more secure, and simpler to use. Limited in power/storage, but sufficient for many tasks. Perfect for young kids, to read recipes on in the kitchen, check your e-mail, look up a word for a crossword puzzle, or play a game of Tetris on the train. Why again are these $100 laptops NOT sold to everyone who wants one?

    I'll have one in semi-transparent purple, with a couple of Gig more flash memory, thanks. Interested to serve as local reseller/support in my area.

  • a lot of folks do (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:37PM (#18031226) Homepage Journal
    I'd bet a buck that within a month or so of mass deployment of them that clones start hitting the market. And as such, they certainly couldn't charge a whole lot for them either. and maybe they will be easier to upgrade (more RAM and Flash memory, etc, as options). I mean, with millions out there, how are they going to avoid it? There's an obvious good market for something like these things, given all the commentary on every OLPC article here.

    I know I'd like to have a low energy usage, built tough, self powered, mesh network enabled laptop thing like they are building, without paying full new laptop prices. Just the self charging aspect is pretty spiffy. I'd just think of it as a good $deal large PDA rather than thinking of it as a full fledged laptop and be done with it. At double their cost @ $260 then, they would be very competitive in the PDA market I think, given a little "adultfying" design tweaks, but keeping the same basic parameters. and ya, that innovative clear screen is one of those reasons..

    And for that matter, is this manufacturer Quanta under any obligation to NOT sell variants? I have not read one way or the other on that subject. Maybe if there is enough interest they will offer a near-close clone machine.
  • by emj ( 15659 ) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:50PM (#18031440) Journal
    OLPC has stated that it doesn't want to get into the commercial distribution game, it's a tricky thing sales and distribution is a big cost for most companies.. You know, they just want to order them from a generic plant in Taiwan/China and then dump them in a container with a big fat "Lybia" sticker on the side. This is very different from the business of delivering and marketing a PC for the masses like DELL does.

    When you order from Dell take a look at what they charge for shipping, I was going to pay 150euros for shipping a 200 euro computer.. that's alot...
  • by monopole ( 44023 ) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:45PM (#18032238)
    Distributed Grid Emergency Response: []
    They're cheap, take a lot of punishment, automatically form ad-hoc wifi meshes, and can be recharged via hand cranking or solar power. With a firmware add-on and an emergency mode switch they could be used for emergency broadcast, first responder requests, and local disaster coordination.

    Toss on a dirt cheap low power cellphone GPS for location awareness, and implement traffic control (and using compressed text messages) to optimize bandwidth. Local meshes which have been separated from the rest of the net can be reattached by airdropping battery powered wifi repeaters into the affected area.

    Distribute broadly and you have a highly resilient emergency infrastructure which degrades gracefully.
  • Re:I Want One (Score:2, Interesting)

    by baeksu ( 715271 ) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @11:48PM (#18034532)

    Laptops are distributed to villiage in Africa. Local warlord offers $5 per laptop and/or just takes them. Nobody has a laptop, and thousands of them spring up on eBay.
    Whereas the article:

    The governments that have committed to buy laptops for their schoolchildren include Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand and Uruguay.

    These are not countries where the population sits starving in the middle of the desert, like in some Southpark episode, ok? Not every kid in a poor country is a starving marvin.

    These are kids that go to school, but who can't afford quality school books, or have poor access to the outside world, because the cost of PCs and Internet connection are too high for many of them. They do have enough food, however, and as much as your idea of sending a goat for them is appreciated, please keep the goat.

    These are countries where people live in real communities that are not terrorized by evil warlords, like in some bad episode of Macgyver, ok?

    Watch something other than CNN for a change, for f's sake.

  • Re:a lot of folks do (Score:0, Interesting)

    by NosTROLLdamus ( 979044 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @01:37AM (#18035212) Journal
    I'd bet a buck that within a month or so of mass deployment of them that clones start hitting the market.

    These would probably end up doing more good than the OLPCs.

  • by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <> on Friday February 16, 2007 @08:43AM (#18037052)
    I'd love to have some for a project I'm working on for the charter school I work at. A lot of the kids I deal with can be just as poor as people in Africa (only eat because they get free meals at school, no running water at home, no heat in their houses during winter, their house itself is barely more than a shack as it doesn't even have insulation and is falling apart, etc). This is in the 4th largest city in Pennsylvania, not a village in Africa... Yet conditions are hardly better than places these would go. However the skills the kids could learn with these have the ability to make their futures better... Who wouldn't hire an smart inner city coder for the same cost as an Indian coder? However from my email I sent to the project they say they have no interest in bettering or own youth, so I doubt that would ever happen...

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner