The forthcoming XO laptop’s price has officially hit $200 now—double the initial $100 target. [Reuters]


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  1. Buran says:

    Why don’t people coming out with new tech toys just double their estimates, and then when they can actually meet their original target, they look good?

    Instead, we get “we said we’d charge $x, but we’re charging $y, don’t like it, screw you”.

  2. KJones says:

    Negroponte’s biggest mistake was going graphic, assuming that a “hundred dollar laptop” had to use the latest technology and a stunning GUI.

    There are numerous manufacturers out there who make boards using old technology out of copyright (eg. 386 chips) and sell the boards for next to nothing. Putting together a $100 machine was possible *if* they had gone to old technology, old software, and basic VGA of ten years ago. Hell, Microsoft could have given away Windows 3.1 for this project and it would more than enough.

    Instead, they had the wrong priorities. Microsoft wanted to create new markets to sell to and Negroponte wanted only the shiniest toys. Both wanted the best instead of what was good enough, forgetting that the people this computer was supposed to be for have *nothing*, most having never seen a computer.

  3. cerbie says:

    @KJones: First off, there’s no MS involvement. They want it, but it’s not there. It’s all Red Hat.

    First, those 10 year old parts might work great with reliable electricity. I dare you, though, to put such an old system together that can run in the power envelope of the OLPC. For an embedded machine to do monitoring/control work, old stuff is great. For something that a child must be able to carry around and use…not so much.

    Second, old and new don’t mix. maybe MS could have given away Windows 3.1. Why would anyone want it? You can argue there aren’t FOSS apps to fully replace current proprietary software, but it’s laughable to propose that anything from the DOS era can compete with any modern FOSS app that does the same thing. On top of that, they would still have needed to write many drivers practically from scratch.

    Third, it required new technology. The technology that makes its display and networking practical did not exist prior to the OLPC project. In this way alone, it has already caused changes in how computers are being designed from this point forward.

    It’s not there to be a cheap notebook computer for the masses. It’s designed to be a Pandora’s box for kids that don’t have well established schools, can’t use textbooks (imagine how long a textbook will last an area that’s humid most of the year, FI), have trouble/can’t get internet access, etc..

    @Buran: Yeah…I don’t know. He and his folks were probably pumped up and naive early on and figured they could get real close. With luck, it (or a future version) will be $100 or so in a year or two.

    Finally…I want one. Make it black, purple, dark blue, or dark gray, and it’s only a keyboard light (best feature of Thinkpads) shy of perfection.

  4. krom says:

    @KJones: Negroponte can’t help it. He’s been in the MIT Media Lab so long that he can’t perceive anything without vivid color and dazzling visualizations. Sounds like the OLPC was yet another victim of classic feature creep due to lack of consistent, prioritized focus.

  5. KJones says:


    Ah, limited vision.

    First, people don’t need video or high end technology on a computer. Text and images are good enough. Second, are you suggesting that video drivers for VGA won’t work on an SVGA screen? Third, there are USB and internet drivers for DOS. Fourth, the internet community would have been willing and able to build applications for something like this, just as they did for Linux. Fifth, where do you get the notion that this was supposed to be about “competing”? It was supposed to be about connectivity. If you believe that old technology can’t connect with new, or that text files written on new machines cannot be read on old, you’re woefully misinformed. The bad old days of incompatibility are long gone.

    I hate to say it, but your vision is as limited as Negroponte’s.