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Portables The Almighty Buck Hardware Technology

OLPC Cost Rises To $188 Per Laptop 270

Arathon writes "The amazing '$100 laptop' designed by the 'One Laptop Per Child' program isn't going to make it out the door for that price. CNN reports that the laptops are now expected to cost $188 apiece when they come out later this fall. This is expected to make the program's appeal potentially much smaller, since the developers were relying on the mind-bogglingly low-price to hook governments into the concept of buying laptops for their people. OLPC's spokesman guarantees that the price won't rise further, to 'above $190'. The price differential is being blamed on raw materials costs and currency fluctuation. Is this the end of the OLPC's newsworthiness, or should we continue to hope that it will make the difference that so many have said it will?"
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OLPC Cost Rises To $188 Per Laptop

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  • Re:Only USD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by markov_chain ( 202465 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @02:05AM (#20613587) Homepage
    It's $100 in 2002 dollars :)
  • Re:rehash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @03:28AM (#20614019) Journal
    I'm getting paranoid too, since the quality has dropped so much in the last few years.

    Notice that complaints are all getting marked down?

    We're being punished for noticing.
  • Re:Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @05:01AM (#20614441) Homepage Journal
    in many developing parts of the world the most connected, powerful computing device a person personally owns is their mobile phone.

    even if it's just a crappy j2me,gprs, browser capable.
  • Re:Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @06:32AM (#20614713) Journal
    There are various reasons why it would not work.

    I might add as well that the Ipod Touch is a music/video portable player, and NOT a PDA (No matter how many people wish it WAS a PDA)
  • by boomka ( 599257 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @09:24AM (#20615477) Homepage Journal
    Let's be economically realistic here. If you look at the OLPC progress timescale here:
    http://laptop.org/en/vision/progress/index.shtml [laptop.org]
    You will notice that the price tag of 100$ per laptop initiates back in the end of 2004.

    Now, I hope all of you here have heard about an economic phenomenon called inflation - the process where governments inflate money supply making your dollars buy less. Very few know that for the past decade or so the government has been massaging the official inflation numbers to make them appear lower - this allows them to make fewer and fewer payments on inflation adjusted liabilities such as social security. However, they still publish all the numbers one needs to calculate the actual inflation, and some people have been doing that, look for example here:
    http://www.shadowstats.com/cgi-bin/sgs/data [shadowstats.com]
    Notice how inflation has been running steadily at about 10% for the last few years. Today, the engineers who drafted the 100$ plan in the end of 2004 / beginning of 2005, should expect the cost to be 100*1.1*1.1*1.1 or roughly 135 dollars.
    That already would take a lot of sensationalism out of the story. However, let's not stop here. Remember, the real culprit behind inflation is the money supply, and consumer inflation is usually the latest to price rising party. The money supply (as you may have noticed from previous link) has been running at 14% annually, causing serious mischief in prices of things like energy (http://www.investmenttools.com/futures/energy/index.htm) or metals (http://www.investmenttools.com/futures/metals/welcome_to_the_page_about_copper_futures.htm) - both are important for making technology.
    Just for the sake of an example, let's trivialize the problem a little, and say that to make a laptop you need to spend 60% of your budget on metals, and 40% on energy (it's wrong, but I am just making an example). What would you expect to happen to the price of such laptop according the charts I linked to? Well, it would go up from 100$ to slightly over 200$.

    So what is the real story here, engineers screwing up their designs, or governments inflating away the buying power of the dollar making the same thing cost twice more over 3 years?
    Look at my links, do your research, decide for yourself.
  • by gregorio ( 520049 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @12:37PM (#20616881)

    The OLPC laptop has already revolutionized the design of the laptop. On the hardware side we have the extreme power efficiency, the high resolution screen, the cranking mechanism, and last but not least the ergonomic, rugged design.
    Oh, geez, cut it. It's just an average motherbord with standard components. People build more advanced machines in the embedded market, every single day.

    There is no revolution. It's just another piece of hardware.
  • by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @08:26PM (#20620511) Homepage

    People build more advanced machines in the embedded market, every single day.

    Oh really?

    What other device is a wireless node and acts like a wireless mesh router even when powered off?

    What other device has a 1200x900 screen that takes well under a watt?

    Sure, it's not a huge leap ahead of other, similar devices - but the XO is definitely pushing the boundries of mobile computer design.

  • Re:Price difference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @10:21PM (#20621329) Homepage Journal

    Negroponte ranted left and right how the greedy vendors could make a cheap PC but couldn't, but now his dream is vaporware and he's arrived at a pretty pedestrian sublaptop, that has its analog for the same price with the good ol' commercial vendors.

    Vapourware? That's weird. You see, I have an XO laptop sitting right here on my desk. It's remarkably massy, compared to most vapour.

    I've been testing the laptop for almost a month now. In fact, when my other 'real' laptop's wireless went south, I switched to the XO full-time for a week. It's not going to break any speed records, but it sure as heck is not pedestrian. A few points:

    • Its display is - bar none - the best I've ever used. It's crisp, vivid, and handles all lighting conditions better than any other portable device I've ever seen.
    • Its wireless reception is demonstrably superior to normal laptops. On two or three occasions, I've been the only person in the room who managed to get a decent wireless signal. It was kind of amusing to see a CS professor with extensive experience in long-distance wireless networks sheepishly asking to borrow my XO so he could check his email.
    • The networking interface is one of the simplest and most graceful UIs I've ever used. It really Just Works.
    • I have yet to see another 'run-of-the-mill' laptop continue running when you empty a watering can over its keyboard. The XO does.
    • It runs on 4 watts. 'Nuff said.

    I could go on, but I think I've made it adequately clear that your statements are hopelessly wide of the mark.

    Last month, some friends and colleagues of mine delivered twenty XOs to Morovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands, for use at Distance Learning Centre there. I can assure you that the children who received them in no way concur with your hopelessly cynical assessment of this technology. So, with all due respect, kindly take your baseless grousing somewhere else and let the rest of us get on with the task of trying to leave this world a little better than we found it.


  • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @10:33PM (#20621401) Homepage Journal

    There is no revolution. It's just another piece of hardware.

    So why, then, does everyone who sees the prototype I've been demo-ing walk away with stars in their eyes?

    I've been working in ICT for over 15 years, and I've spent years in some of the most remote areas in the world, trying to extend the reach of the Internet in a way that's useful to the people who live there. Let me tell you that in all that time, I have never encountered anything quite so well-designed for its task as the XO laptop.

    I've been evaluating a B2 prototype to determine its suitability to the task of being deployed in a Least Developed Country in the South Pacific region. I can say without hesitation that there is no competing technological device that even comes close. The fact that Negroponte and co. managed to do it cheaper than anyone else, using commodity parts, should be offered as the highest praise, not castigation.

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham