Forget The $100 PC; India Now Working On A $10 PC… Or Not

from the take-that-negroponte dept

Over the years, we’ve pointed out some of the more ridiculous aspects of the One Laptop Per Child program (originally known as the $100 PC). While the cause is quite admirable, the project’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte has taken a rather strange way to get there. Rather than letting the competitive free market get us to a point where a $100 laptop is feasible, he would attack anyone who dared to try to create a competing product. Also, much of the OLPC was developed very much as a top down project — rather than opening it up to various participants to look at different options for making things even better or cheaper.

In fact, when the initial designs came down, the countries that were supposed to be all excited about the OLPC, such as India, weren’t particularly excited — turning down a chance to participate in the OLPC program (though, it has run some small scale tests). Now, however, India claims that it’s working on its own cheap laptop: and it’ll be a $10 PC instead of $100 (and, really, the OLPC is more like $200 anyway). It’s not clear how India plans to create such a cheap PC, and the article notes there’s a decent chance it won’t really be $10 — but a subsidized $10. Still, one doubts that Negroponte will be very happy about this, despite the fact that it advances his vision, if not his implementation. Update: Well, well, well. Now Indian officials are claiming they misspoke, and the $10 laptop will actually be a $100 laptop. If they can actually get there, more power to them — because, as we noted, OLPC’s $100 laptop is actually $200.

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Comments on “Forget The $100 PC; India Now Working On A $10 PC… Or Not”

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47 Comments
Fred Langly says:

Re: Re: the usa has starving people too

maybe we should get the government to solve all of our problems! Then no one ever has to go to work again!

Something’s terribly wrong when people can loose their job to someone in another country… Not even a US citizen… And the Government does nothing.

While we’re on the topic of crappy ideas, let’s build free roads and houses in Iraq and Tollbooths in America.

This is getting nuts

Evil Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: the usa has starving people too

Something’s terribly wrong when people can loose their job to someone in another country… Not even a US citizen… And the Government does nothing.

Go take an economics class and learn about global economies of scale!

Or move to the country where the jobs are going…

Whatever you decide, just stop fucking complaining; especially when you do not understand what you’re complaining about.

Another Planet says:

Re: Re: the usa has starving people too

Yes indeed, many people are going without food in the USA. For whatever karmic reason (I suspect exposure to industrial chemicals while working an electronics engineering job in a poorly-ventilated factory)I fell prey to a neurological illness and I am now disabled. I paid high taxes for many years and now must subsist below the poverty line, on SSI.I often have to choose between buying food or medicine or trifling things like clothes (I need shoes at the moment and they must be special types for the neuropathy in my feet) I can’t afford new shoes unless I go without other necessities like food, medicine and clothing. This is the reality of life in America in 2008. This country can’t adequately take care of its’ own citizens YET!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Whiteys looted our country and became rich and now they us for being poor.

Abt ur comment let me give an example. Gas costs about $2/liter and government subsidizes it reducing the end cost to $1.5/liter. But because as per capita income is $4000/year most people cannot still afford that price. Kerosene, which is used by most people for cooking, is subsidized further and it costs only $0.5/liter.

Likewise food is subsidized a great deal and without subsidy most Indians will hungry. But India is not rich enough to provide poor food to everybody.

Maybe we should build large armies like you, loot others and then live on luxury.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Increased tech skillsets to enable outsourcing of American Jobs

it’s the circle of life man:

the standard of living and the exchange rate of the rupee make it cheaper to export labor to india. this hurts the american economy, standard of living, and the value of the dollar.

soon the standard of living and the value of the dollar will drop to the point that it will be cheaper for india to outsource back to the US.

Jim says:

Re: Re:

I think you are trying to say that having laptops does not mean you will be educated. I suppose that can be considered true – but it is also true that a child can go to school for 12 years and still be uneducated.

With a cheap laptop and projects like OpenTextbook, people have all the tools necessary to get a very good education. Whether or not they will utilize those tools is still to be seen.

Ryan says:

Better Education

It follows the standard “Catch a fish, teach a man to fish” ideology. Yes, you are right, people are starving in India, but if you spend your money on food for everyone, (or an establishment that provides food for that matter) it doesn’t solve the problem except on a temporary basis. They will only become hungry again later, and they haven’t learned anything except, “My local soup kitchen is where I go to eat.” You need to provide education and resources to aid in education, (i.e. a laptop, what a thought!) to help them learn to make their own living and provide for themselves.

Also, continuing education would sprout more businesses, allowing for more jobs, etc. This process starts with education. Start there, and the snowball will roll on.

dbs (user link) says:

OLPC being misrepresented. Again.

I’d like to point out that while the comments in the post were colorful and probably provided great press, they weren’t particularly accurate. Or at least, they didn’t portray the situation correctly.

The XO laptop was never meant to be a market commodity. It was never meant to be sold int he commercial market, and throwing it into the capitalist market, and depending on it’s success there to achieve it’s noble goals would have doomed the project to failure.

OLPC is focused on providing laptops for education in development countries. Period, end of story. As such, it is being wildly successful, with hundreds of thousands of the devices distributed and in use.

The ‘competition’ snarkily referred to was an attempt by Intel to undermine OLPC’s mission. Intel wasn’t interested in education or green devices or low cost. The salesrep involved was motivated by dollar signs.

OLPC is one of the few projects that is not being drive by money and ‘success in the businessplace’. Comparing it with commercial products sold out of Best Buy is an inappropriate metric and misses the point.

Now, to India’s project, more power to them. I look forward to seeing their finished product, and seeing if it will actually deliver as promised, or will it just be another business vector for Intel and Microsoft. Me, I’m skeptical. Doing a project like this correctly is a daunting task, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned from OLPC’s project, but ‘starting over’ isn’t the proper approach.

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