Price Check on Register 3

How much should a $100 laptop cost? This isn't a trick question. The much-ballyhooed "$100 Laptop" destined for underprivileged kids in developing nations -- a laudable goal, if ever there was one -- has already outlived its name.

The One Laptop Per Child Foundation, which was founded by MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte, is now selling the inexpensive laptops for $200 each in lots of 10,000 or more. The intent is to have potential donor organizations buy the laptops through the foundation's Web site here.

Production costs were cited as the reason for the price jump from the originally stated $100 up to $150, then $188 and now $200. The laptops are scheduled to go into production next month at a factory located in China. So far, the One Laptop Per Child Foundation has orders from Uruguay, Peru and Mongolia.

The laptops are equipped with a video camera and a keyboard that can switch languages. They can also connect to a wireless Internet signal and run Linux software. The laptops only need 2 watts of power, as opposed to the 30 to 40 watts that a typical laptop requires.

In other news about low-cost laptops destined for developing nations, Microsoft and Intel have signed a deal to sell 150,000 laptops to the Libyan Education Ministry. This is Intel's second-largest sale of Classmate PCs since they were launched last year. These laptops also reportedly cost $200 to build.

What do you think of Big Silicon's efforts to laptop the world? Are these wise priorities or should the focus be more on the basics, like food and shelter? Do you think this will accelerate economic and humanitarian globalization? Where would you send 10,000 laptops? Let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Lafe Low on 10/31/2007 at 1:23 PM


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