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back to article OLPC wants $200 for its $100 laptop, please

The $100 laptop, designed to save the children of developing countries from a world without technology, might have to be rebranded. The machine's price tag has now hit the $200 mark. Anyone feeling altruistic can purchase the machines in lots of 10,000 and say where they'd like them to be sent. Smaller donations can also be …


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To be honest about the $100

There's nowt actually *made* by the US any more, so the parts and so on are all outside the US and given that, since the OLPC was launched, the US $ has halved its value, near enough, the laptop hasn't gone up in price.

I suspect if they'd titled it "the 120 euro laptop" (which it roughly was, IIRC and still is) they would have been lumped in the Axis Of Evil like Iraq, NK, Iran and Venezuela are (all, oddly enough, having attempted to buy and sell in euros rather than US dollars. I'm sure just a coincidence...).


OLPC's Not a Windup...

"which would see every child in the country equipped with one of the lime-green windups"

'cept it's not a wind up device any more:

"Early concept devices were shown with a hand crank on the side to demonstrate that they would work in areas where the only electricity available comes from devices like the Freecharge portable charger. This was removed due to concerns about stresses on the casing, and ease of use. The units will ship with some kind of human-powered charger that plugs into the DC socket." (

Oh; unless you mean the whole concept is a windup, right?

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Choice of currency

Can we please use a fairly stable currency as the reference point for stories like this? Anyone who works for American clients can tell you that the US dollar has been dropping like a stone for quite some time. The Canadian dollar for instance is hitting 30+ year highs against the US peso - $1.05 US to a loonie yesterday. A year ago that US$ would have bought 1.1 to 1.2 Canadian dollars. A large part of the increased US$ price tag surely reflects the weakness of that currency.

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Re: To be honest about the $100

Mark, €120 - wash your mouth out. It would be the £100 laptop.

Which includes an extra Rip Off Britain surcharge of £9 at today's exchange rate.

Anonymous Coward

Who designed this mess

I just took a look at the machine. Who designed this mess? It has three stylus pads, a touch pad for the mouse. What are the stupid game buttons on the screen and the touch pad button on the left hand side of the screen? These could be removed and save a couple of bucks. Keyboard LED's, 3 USB ports and a fancy hinge don't these things add up? It has an SD port. Does that mean that every child will need to get an SD memory chip? Why not just have 1 USB port that you can hook a flash drive to? If they need more than 1 USB port at a time (which they shouldn't since it has a built in camera, speakers, and microphone) They can get a hub but not everyone will need more than one USB port. Also, why build the battery into the thing. Just give it a 12 volt input or 5 volt input and let it be powered by any 12 volt source or 5 volt source.

If you could save $25 dollars that is 12 % more children served for the same amount of money. I can see the camera, microphone and speakers. I take that back partially it should only have one speaker.


£100 laptop? Nah

Remeber, according to retaillers the exchange rate for the US$ to £ is ALWAYS


So it would now be the £188 laptop.

'course I think that was what you meant.

As to Anonymous, if you have a better design, get some VC cash and go for it.



The whole currency issue is throwing off what is still a very, very cheap device whose silicon heart is in the right place. For a charitable organisation setting out to produce the $100 laptop they haven't done badly. If you set your sights on the $100 laptop and end up producing the $188 laptop, that's better than planning on the $200 laptop and ending up reselling old Dells to third world countries.

I wonder how many of these devices will actually end up in Britain due to our immigration policies, maybe you'll be able to buy one at PC World and give it to a neighbour at some point. Obviously for £188. Plus VAT.


Re: Who designed this mess

actually somebody's already designed a better one -

The Asus Eee PC costs between $200 and $400 retail, which must work out at the same or less as the OLPC hatchet job, and appears to do much the same thing. And look a lot sexier doing it.

OLPC sounded like a good marketing wheeze when it was announced, with the current crop of ultra-low priced laptops it's looking more expensive and undesirable by the day.

Just my $0,02.


Re:Re: Who designed this mess

Yeah, those $200 -$400 consumer specials would last a whole - What? - day maybe, if that, in the environments that these "windups" are destined to be used.

The current crop of ultra-low priced laptops also have ultra low quality and ultra low survivability to any misadventures of the "oops" kind. They also come bundled with an OS and other features not exactly conducive to a learning environment.

The thing is that the target is not just price here. Other considerations in the design are durability, longevity of design, ease of use, not being welded to proprietary anything, and flexibility. That last one includes the addition or subtraction of features as deemed necessary by those who are actually paying for the things.

So having more than one USB port is not such an issue if you begin thinking creatively and remember that one of the caveats is keeping costs and losable/breakable extras at a minimum.

Heres a thought for all you wannabe entrepreneurs and engineers out there - cheap power to run these things - can someone design $100 - $200 charger systems that could keep a classroom of these things running on a daily basis?

Hello? Anyone? thought so!

Anonymous Coward

re: re: who designed this mess

Yep, this looks like they had an idea of what they were doing. Buttons and stylus pads weren't added for little apparent reason. Now if I could just get OS X to run on the thing.

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