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
    Shun, 30 Oct 2007 @ 1:47pm

    Does OLPC have a goal?

    I would like to suggest that the OLPC project is not merely a simple charity organization which sees itself as "empowering the poor" or "giving something to the community".

    Perhaps the creators of the project did not understand what they were taking on when they created it.

    OLPC is not about just giving laptops to poor children, and it's not mission will not be done once every child in the 3rd world has a laptop (I know, it's starting to sound bureaucratic already). Really, OLPC is about changing the model of how technology is distributed in poor countries.

    OLPC is about giving people in developing countries the tools necessary for a rich and fulfilling education. I think they'll be done (and they will hopefully go away) once kids in under-developed countries start writing code superior to code produced by professionals in industrialized countries.

    Basically, OLPC's goal will be met when they are successfully pwn'd by a kid hacking away on his free laptop, somewhere in the proverbial "Village in Africa", although a few other continents come to mind.

    Do I expect to see more 419 spam and credit card scams? Of course. As long as someone has money to burn, someone else will be interested in burning it for them.

    My solution: I believe that secure digital e-cash needs to be embraced, or we may as well go back to trading seeds, stones, and steel pieces.

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