Newsletters
Technology, Discovery & Innovation NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Computing Digital Life Discovery Space More Topics...
Hardware
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
OLPC
OLPC's XO Faces Many Challenges

By Frederick Lane
November 27, 2007 9:18AM

Bookmark and Share
From the start, the OLPC has faced daunting challenges in persuading government officials to invest in the Linux-based XO laptops. Many of OLPC's challenges have stemmed from a classic Catch-22 problem: OLPC had billed the XO as a $100 laptop, but the low number of orders so far has prevented OLPC from realizing economies of scale.
 



"Give One. Get One." That's the slogan for the two-for-one program by One Laptop Per Child, an organization set up to promote and distribute the innovative, low-cost, Linux-based XO laptop computer developed by former MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte and other members of the school's Media Lab.

In early November, OLPC announced a two-week program to allow members of the general public to purchase two XO laptops for $399; one laptop is shipped to the purchaser, and the second is donated to a child in a developing nation. In addition to getting an XO laptop, the purchaser also receives a $200 tax credit for the donation of the second laptop and, thanks to T-Mobile, a year of free Wi-Fi access.

Due to interest in the program, OLPC announced that it is extending the offer through December 31, 2007. After that date, consumers will be able to obtain a laptop for themselves or their children only by donating 100 or more XO laptops.

Political, Manufacturing Challenges

Despite the laudable effort, the OLPC initiative has run into some challenging economic and political roadblocks that might hobble Negroponte's bold vision of millions of meshed computers in developing nations.

From the start, the OLPC program has faced daunting challenges in persuading government officials to invest in the laptops. Many of those challenges have stemmed from a classic Catch-22 manufacturing problem: Negroponte originally billed the XO as a $100 laptop, but the low number of orders so far has prevented the program from realizing economies of scale. Mass production of the device (spurred in part by the "Give One, Get One" offer) began just three weeks ago.

The XO's cost is still remarkably low -- just $188 -- but still high enough to cool the interest of possible large-volume purchasers such as Nigeria and Libya, both of which were considering purchasing a million or more laptops each. OLPC did recently announce, however, that it has finalized an order from Uruguay for 100,000 laptops, and that similar orders from several other countries are in the works.

When the Chips Are Down...

The OLPC's most serious threat is in the marketplace. Stung by Negroponte's selection of AMD chips to power the XO, rival chipmaker Intel recently rolled out its own low-cost, durable laptop called the Classmate. The company has been aggressively marketing the Classmate in many of the same poor, developing countries that Negroponte and OLPC had targeted for the XO.

The option to purchase a laptop capable of running Microsoft Windows for just $100 or so more than the XO (which runs a suite of Linux programs, but not Windows) has caused many countries to delay or even reconsider purchases of the XO. Moreover, Microsoft just announced that it will sell developing countries a special package of software (with Windows, a student version of MS Office, and various educational programs) for just $3 per user.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Get Powerful App Acceleration with Cisco. In a world where time is money, you need to accelerate the speed at which data moves through your data center. Cisco UCS Invicta delivers powerful, easy-to-manage application acceleration for data-intensive workloads. So you can make decisions faster and outpace the competition. Learn More.


 Hardware
1.   Design Central to Microsoft Future
2.   Schools Buy Million Chromebooks in Q2
3.   IRS: Lerner's Hard Drive Destroyed
4.   US Orders a New Cray for Nuclear Arms
5.   IBM Earmarks $3B for Next-Gen Chips


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 
Contrary to Report, Lenovo's Staying in Small Windows Tablets
Device maker Lenovo has clarified a report that indicated it is getting out of the small Windows tablet business -- as in the ThinkPad 8 and the 8-inch Miix 2. But the firm said it is not exiting that market.
 
Seagate Unveils Networked Drives for Small Businesses
Seagate is out with five new networked attached storage products aimed at small businesses. The drives are for companies with up to 50 workers, and range in capacity from two to 20 terabytes.
 

Navigation
Sci-Tech Today
Home/Top News | Computing | Digital Life | Discovery | Space | Innovation | Health | Science News
Environment
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.