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
    bcostoa, 30 Oct 2007 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Pretty shortsighted view ...

    I have a better idea. Why not just give $200.00 to every child in these Third World countries?

    Because the fungibility of an OLPC is much lower than cash. The OLPC is so child-like and so locked down it's theft value is much lower than money. Money that could be easily taken by the local warlord, mayor, thugs, tax collector, death squads, police officers, etc. once distributed.

    Your point is quite valid though and does take place in the form of the microloan system. In the same vein, giving someone money empowers them to make choices. Many times better choices than a government official. Also valid is the need for health care but I believe the point is to "teach a man to fish" and give the children of today the tools to fix their problems tomorrow. Not perfect but if it works it'll be a big win for everyone.

    Hopefully many of the OLPCs will also see double duty with the parents using them (after the kids are in bed) to manage the local farm/business. Not out right cash but a small step in the right direction.

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