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What $10 PC? India Goes OLPC

Shortly after CES 2009, news did the rounds about India’s supposed $10 dollar laptop. The laptop reportedly cost $20 to manufacture, but according to India’s Secretary for Higher Education, large-scale production would see the price in half by the time it hit consumers.

Within a couple of days, India showed off this much talked about machine and people were disappointed to see that it wasn’t exactly a laptop. The Sakshat was a 10-inch by 5-inch plastic box which, despite its fancy unveiling at India's Sri Venkateswara University, looked more like a storage device than anything else. As for the $10 price, the expected price is closer to thirty bucks.

We gave up on the idea, right then and there, and apparently, so did India. Reports today say the country has just purchased thousands of OLPC laptops for its schools. According to Giz, the Indian government has signed an agreement with the One Laptop Per Child Foundation that will see 250,000 XO laptops distributed to students throughout the country.

The original plan was to develop a hundred dollar laptop, however the price as it stands is just under twice that. OLPC said it hoped to have the price down to $100 in 2008 but that, realistically; it would probably be more like $140. It’s not clear whether or not India will be using the XP version of the XO machine that comes bundled with Windows XP and Microsoft’s Student Innovation Suite, which includes Microsoft Office 2003 as well as Learning Essentials 1.0 for Microsoft Office. The addition of Windows XP to the XO laptop adds an extra $3 dollars to the price or $7 for a dual-boot version running both Windows and Linux.

  • jsloan
    they should have gotten netbooks, surely someone could have built them a linux one for around $150.
    Reply
  • pug_s
    $10 pc is probably the recycled 4-5 year old with Pentium IV processors.
    Reply
  • India is not poor as perceived by other countries, they have the best in R&D and very low priced products which are more competitive than the ones made in countries like China and Taiwan. I don't understand why India needs an OLPC or Net-book, they already have so many old PCs which can be donated for poor needy children. But as far as I know, those cannot afford a PC cannot afford Electricity line in India, so what the point?
    Reply
  • hellwig
    Dr Raj GuptaIndia is not poor as perceived by other countries, they have the best in R&D and very low priced products which are more competitive than the ones made in countries like China and Taiwan. I don't understand why India needs an OLPC or Net-book, they already have so many old PCs which can be donated for poor needy children. But as far as I know, those cannot afford a PC cannot afford Electricity line in India, so what the point?I believe the OLPC has a hand-crank generator. A few minutes of cranking allows the device to be used for half an hour if I recall.
    Reply
  • Why is this news not on OLPC's website ?
    Why has there been no comment by Indian politician or any decision making authority out there ?
    When was the last time that India as a country promised a vendor for thousands of devices - the decisions are usually taken at state level by very smart execs who are proud of their work.
    Is it just fluff we are talking about ? What are the details of this deal ? Who was involved ? What criteria was chosen ? Where are the tender details ? Questions...
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    Dr Raj GuptaIndia is not poor as perceived by other countries, they have the best in R&D and very low priced products which are more competitive than the ones made in countries like China and Taiwan. I don't understand why India needs an OLPC or Net-book, they already have so many old PCs which can be donated for poor needy children. But as far as I know, those cannot afford a PC cannot afford Electricity line in India, so what the point?Yes, that's why India is known as the factory of the world and perceived as possible cyberspace competitor to the PUS alongside Russia.

    Gladly accept the US designed, Taiwan contracted and China made OLPC and educate your children.
    Reply
  • thub
    hellwigI believe the OLPC has a hand-crank generator. A few minutes of cranking allows the device to be used for half an hour if I recall.The hand crank was scrapped as a standard feature due to (I believe) the fragile nature of handcranks manufactured in plastic. The laptops come with a regular, region-specific, wall adapter but the last I heard from people at OLPC, a third party was developing a human powered charger that looks like a yo-yo and cost around $10 that was being considered as the standard charging device. It turns out that an energetic kid can generate a lot of power with a device like that.
    In any actual deployments I've read about, they've used the wall adapters and set up some kind of system for gang-charging.

    Also, why is it so hard to convince the media that OLPC laptops don't have a Windows version? They come from the factory with a Fedora-based Linux installation, but the client is free to put whatever they want on it, including Microsoft's XO bundle which is offered seperately.
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    ^ sorry, I meant to type US.
    Reply
  • zerapio
    Dr Raj GuptaIndia is not poor as perceived by other countries, they have the best in R&D and very low priced products which are more competitive than the ones made in countries like China and Taiwan. I don't understand why India needs an OLPC or Net-book, they already have so many old PCs which can be donated for poor needy children. But as far as I know, those cannot afford a PC cannot afford Electricity line in India, so what the point?It's not that India is a poor country but you certainly can't deny that there's a lot of poverty. Wealth distribution is really bad.
    Reply
  • outacontrolpimp
    average users dont want linux, stop suggesting it.
    of course people that know how to use computers say linux is great. but for normal users, they want nothing to do with it. unless it gets some popularity, (commercials ect) people wont like the idea of a ox they havent heard about.
    Reply