Dramatically Scaled-Back OLPC Begins Production
from the soft-bigotry-of-low-expectations dept
The One-Laptop-per-Child project, which the press is still referring to as the "$100 laptop" despite the fact that it now costs twice that, finally began rolling off the assembly line this week. What's most striking about the effort is how dramatically Nicholas Negroponte has had to scale back his formerly lofty ambitions to get the project off the ground. He initially said that they'd need 3 million orders before they started production. Those orders never materialized, so now they're starting production with only one order, from Uruguay, for just 100,000 laptops. And frankly, if I were Negroponte, I wouldn't count on that order until the money was in the bank, as countries have backed out of commitments in the past. And they've already reversed their previously strong stance against allowing Westerners to buy laptops for their own use. Negroponte has also changed his tune on his relationship with Microsoft. A year ago he crowed that "if I am annoying Microsoft and Intel then I figure I am doing something right." He also opined that "About 25 percent of the cost of a (Windows) laptop is there just to support XP, which is like a person that has gotten so fat that they use most of their muscle to move their fat." Now, however, he's touting his Microsoft ties, stating that "Microsoft has always been working on Windows for the XO. We put the SD (secure digital) slot into our laptop over one year ago, for them." He didn't elaborate on whether the SD slot was needed because of XP's feature bloat. The OLPC project may yet help a lot of poor children, but so far its record has been pretty underwhelming.