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OLPC Says No Plans for Consumer Release 208

Posted by Zonk
from the us-doesn't-have-poor-folks dept.
Gr88pe writes "The One Laptop Per Child product has clarified that they have not made a decision on whether or not to carry out a consumer release of the XO laptop, despite previous reports. From the article: 'OLPC told Ars Technica in a statement that the company has no plans for a consumer version of the laptop. "Contrary to recent reports, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is not planning a consumer version of its current XO laptop, designed for the poorest and most remote children in the world," said Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC chairman.' They are considering a number of plans, but have made no formal decision."
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OLPC Says No Plans for Consumer Release

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  • by soft_guy (534437) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:48PM (#17582622)
    One of the more interesting ideas that I have seen is to allow people to buy an OLPC for say, double the price, thus also buying one for a child oversees.

    The part of it that would be of interest to me would be a system that would allow a westerner to just buy one of these for a child oversees.
  • by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux@nosPaM.gmail.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:53PM (#17582694) Homepage
    When you have many people purchasing, you can order in larger quantities, and lower prices all around.

    If people demand it, the market should supply it.

    I say we develop a "one child per laptop" organization. It's function would be to convince governments to develop laws mandating that you can only have a child if you have a laptop.
  • by grapeape (137008) <{moc.rr.ck} {ta} {7epopm}> on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:54PM (#17582742) Homepage
    Several of the features of the Laptop initiative arent things that the average power user is going to want or need, but they are features that would be great for niche areas. One that comes to mind is journaling for camping and hiking, emergency services, etc. Im sure there are hundreds of others. I know I would have enjoyed having one when I had phone service but no power during an ice storm a few years back.

    One idea I heard floating around was the to buy one for yourself, you would have to buy one towards the initiative. To me that sounds like a win win, they get more in contributions to the cause, people that want to play with one get the opportunity and production orders increase which usually drives down costs even more.
  • Good Decision (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Suriken (922504) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:57PM (#17582788)
    Definitely a good decision if there is going to be a shortage (at the start) of these products in the developing countries. reportedly enough for some to sell on the "gray-market"
    (Bletsas acknowledges that some abuse is inevitable. "Will some parents sell their children's laptops on the gray market? Sure." ) source [linuxtoday.com]
    Yes this is only initially, but if the children that these laptops are designed for are missing out because some random wants to play with it in his apartment along with his 2 pc's his other laptop, his pda and 3 game consoles something is seriously amiss, regardless of how much he pays for it.
  • Everybody knows (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KalvinB (205500) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:59PM (#17582820) Homepage
    there are no poor people in first world countries that could possibly benefit from having a cheap PC. /sarcasm

    If they don't *know* that this laptop would be a huge benefit to poor people in ALL countries, then they're either being threatened by the likes of Dell (hard to sell $500 POS desktops when you can get a durable $100 laptop) or are completely blind to the people who are right under their noses.

    As long as I have a computer with an internet connection I will never be broke. I may be homeless, but I'll never be broke. But, I guess people don't care about the homeless people in say New York that could use a laptop to get started in developing web-sites to bring in some extra money (or even to find resources like food banks and shelters) to help them get back on their feet.
  • Too popular? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Minimum_Wage (1003821) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:01PM (#17582838)
    I think OLPC is a little scared that there might be more interest in this as a consumer device than as a philanthropic project. Given the low cost, capability and hacker-friendly nature of the OLPC (at least on paper) it could be a huge success as a commercial product. Given that, I think they'd be crazy not to offer the buy-two-get-one options just to cut down on the black market that will otherwise develop...
  • Re:Why the hell not, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by afxgrin (208686) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:12PM (#17583014)
    I was happy pledging to buy one for 3 times the price, and apparently that's not good enough. I just don't understand the logic behind restricting consumer's from purchasing one. I don't care to own a cheap laptop, i'm more interested in developing software that will operate well on these laptops. The idea is to push the hardware to the limit, as I might want to work with some of these people who will be eventually owning these machines.
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:18PM (#17583128) Homepage Journal
    because it is one of those bullshit "hypothetical" questions that I really hate.. but hey, this is Slashdot, so what the hell. If I show up 6 months after the first government sale with $100,000,000 will the OLPC sell me some laptops? Or will they say "no, we don't want your money".. hmmm.. let me think about this.. hmm.. I'm pretty sure they'll take my money. They might say "we require you to guarantee us that these laptops will be used solely by children" and when I say no? Will they say "no dice" and walk away or will they say "ok, the price just went up $100 per unit".

    If someone nice and rich out there really wants to buy these laptops for the first world, I think they can do it. Just don't go asking OLPC for 3 units "for my grandkids" for xmas next year.. cause that's not the way electronics manufacturers sell stuff.. they sell in bulk to retailers who add their markup, add postage and handling, etc.
  • by Rik van Riel (4968) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:30PM (#17583332) Homepage
    I've seen an early XO machine in action at the office (I'm lucky enough to have some of the XO team as colleagues) and I know I want one for my self, too.

    I would not mind buying two for children overseas - especially if the system of charitable contributions is set up so we end up with a "negative salestax" - but I do not want to miss out on one for myself either.

    The screen may be a bit small compared to what I use on my desktop, but it's got a decent resolution and can be read outside. I want to be able to sit on the deck or in the garden and edit wiki pages, browse the web, listen to music or show stuff using the built-in camera.

    The XO is also much more rugged than normal laptops. You can actually take it outside without worrying about it breaking because of dust or some raindrops. I want one :)
  • One idea I heard floating around was the to buy one for yourself, you would have to buy one towards the initiative.

    This is similar to what the Freeplay Foundatation and C. Crane were doing with the Freeplay Lifeline Radios [ccrane.com]. Buy one for yourself, and one is donated to orphans in Rawanda.

    Apparently this wasn't popular enough, because it looks like Freeplay and C. Crane have discontinued the program. The radios were probably too large and ugly for most American shortwave consumers, I suppose.
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:00PM (#17583696) Homepage Journal
    how about we round up all these people who want to play with an OLPC laptop and ship them off to one of the pilot nations to train teachers or children how to use it. You get to play with it, the kids get someone to teach them, it's win, win right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:01PM (#17583704)
    Surely you don't think M$ will allow anyone in the USA to buy one of these. I mean it doesn't run windows, the manufacture didn't pay a hidden windows tax, it runs an operating system closely aligned with Red Linux from China, and lastly the folks in Washington will be able to pocket some $ to prevent it's import I'm sure. Nothing to see here, please buy that Dell laptop with Vista extreme instead please...
  • by kosmosik (654958) <kosNO@SPAMkosmosik.net> on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:02PM (#17583716) Homepage
    Yesterday I've read a BBC (or smth. like that) article that stated it would be possible to buy two and get one (the other one donated to some other country) - I would certainly do that. Come on - a quite usefull and supported by Linux, well designed machine. Hell I would shell out $200 for this one with no problem. Even bare without operating system (I would hack my own). This is as for me.

    But here goes another story - what if I would decide to develop (here in Central Europe - why not?) software/services for this machines? I would like to get one for developement and stuff (those OS images for emulation are not suitable for Real World testing The Platform)?

    For me not releasing it (even if it costs like 3x more) to general public is like creating a barrier - so kids in other countries will get this stuff. And me? Me not. I guess this laptop was intended to break the barriers - this situation - when it is not aviable for whole world creates a barrier.

    Like come on - I would love to hack it and share what I did with other people.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:23PM (#17583912)
    once they get rolling with the main units, they may look at a distinctive commercial derivative for individual sale.

    What do you mean, "derivative?" All they need to do to is use a different color plastic for the case on the commercial version. That'll make it plenty "distinctive," and it's easy enough that they can sell them immediately!

  • I'm there. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chimera512 (910750) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:11PM (#17584446) Homepage
    I'm not sure if you're completely serious about doing that and I think its outside of the realm of possiblity for the OLPC people to fund or organize at this point.

    I am very serious when I say I'd consider doing that: sign up for a year or two, have them fly me there (or i'd even pay my own airfair if i end up feeling that strongly about the potential of the project. I'm not that wholly convinced at this point.) Maybe they also get me some kind of formal certifications (like TEFL or something OLPC realted) give partner or two to work with. A small peace corps-like living stipend that gives me (or so I've read) an income about equal to those I'm working with.

    When I graduate in a year and a half doing that sort of work, overseas or domestic service work, is something I'm seriously considering, it beats getting a 9-5 office hell job while i figure out my degree is useless and head back to school for a masters in something specific but equally un-employable.

    And, like you said, I end up with a computer at the end of it. I could (and will given the chance) get behind buying an OLPC for 3 or 4 hundred and sending 2 or 3 computers to the programs purchasing them. The program has stated that the costs is still at about $135 per unit, so perhaps having people interested could subsidize the cost so they could sell the laptops at their $100 price point before they actually get the hardware costs down that far. This seems a better solution then buying a laptop for a child in the 3rd world since that seems to not quite mesh with the program's stated goal of selling the laptops to nations wishing to purchase them.
  • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:40PM (#17585426) Homepage Journal
    *raises hand*
     
    Hi, I live below the poverty line according to my income. I'm typing this from a Powerbook in a (really fucking nice) 1200 sq ft apartment which I commute to work in a VW Jetta. I also pay for my own school (no student loans, paying out of pocket), I have $3000 in savings. I just got a promotion at where I work (movie theater!) but the pay raise hasn't come in yet. I've got Cable broadband, and it's fabulous. No handouts from my parents, doing this on my own. I had about $3000 in credit card debt at one point, but I've paid all but $300 of it off. Granted, I don't go out drinking every night or go eat out a lot, but my quality of life is far from what I thought I'd have to live like when I moved out.
     
    They say America is the land of dreams. I used to think that was crap, but compared to third world countries where people aren't even aware that they have other options, I know that in my country (the US) I have a lot of upward mobility, and by expressing a desire to move up in life, people are giving me opportunities to do so. I doubt that's happening currently in the Sudan.
     
    In two years I will go from making $12,000 a year to $22,000 this year to $45,000 a year, by being productive and focusing on what I need to do to move upward in life.
     
    The "poverty line" is a crock of bullshit in my opinion. The number of truly homeless people who refuse to get help and move on from the past tragedies in their lives is quite small. If you're unable to make $10,000 a year (what I would consider the true poverty line to be) you are most likely severely mentally handicapped.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:11PM (#17586334)
    I think they are not sure about offering this model for sale to consumers is because of one thing... resale.

    If this model is for sale to say people in developed countries, people will buy it, but also people will start selling them second hand on eBay etc. Now you have created a market for this and second hand dealers will be looking for more stock and do you know who they will go for first? Thats right, those poor people who's kids got a OLPC. One if some second hard dealer offers them a even a handful of dollars, poor are going to jump at that chance of short-term gain. Remember some of these people who have OLPC might have more immediate concerns about how to feed, clothe & house themselves.

    So if they make this version available only through government programs they can ban resales of these. Anybody selling this model will be selling a product obtained illegally.

    So I am pretty sure they will not sell this model. However I really hope they sell different 'consumer' model of these.

    -AC

Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee. -- Kim Hubbard

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