Price Of The $100 Laptop Going In The Wrong Direction

from the isn't-technology-supposed-to-get-cheaper? dept

I'll admit it. I've never quite understood the rationale behind the $100 laptop (or OLPC or whatever it's being called these days). Yes, it's a noble goal to get technology into the hands of people around the world with the hope that they can do something productive with it -- but a big top down attempt to build something without much actual user feedback seems destined to fail. At the same time, we've noted that the market seems to be doing a pretty damn good job on its own of driving the price of computers down such that a special project may not make as much sense. So it's a bit amusing to now find out that while computer prices are dropping the price of the "$100 laptop" keeps rising. In fact, the price is now $200 per laptop, showing a rather rapid climb. The $100 laptop was never actually $100. Back in February, project backers said it would be $150. In April, they bumped the price up to $176. Just two weeks ago, they said it would be $188... and now it's $200. And we thought technology was supposed to drop in price over time. Perhaps if they'd acted more like a startup from the beginning things would be moving in the right direction.

Filed Under: $100 laptop, nicholas negroponte, olpc


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  1. identicon
    Bill, 30 Oct 2007 @ 12:50pm

    There are many different priorities...

    and many different groups trying to address them. Each group deals with a problem they can address based on their skill sets. The goal of OLPC appears to be addressing the need for a tool that can be used in the course of education. What's at the basis of education? Learning to communicate; via written language, spoken language, the language of mathematics, and learning to communicate in a global environment.

    At what point does ANY child need "real computing"? Most likely when they have succeeded in mastering the basic skills I have mentioned. Computers serve multiple purposes and we will need competent programmers from all over the globe. However, we need educated and responsible world citizens first.

    The idea of teaching someone to fish, I think, is a reasonable approach. One thing that might be worth addressing in this discussion is this: "How will the teachers, parents, guardians, etc, be trained to make the best use of these computers?

    What happens when the children these laptops grow up, and want a computer to do some serious networking, or programming, or just things beyond reading, writing and typing?

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