Tuesday, July 24, 2007

OLPC XO Under Our Christmas Trees?

A Reuters news item reports that the OLPC XO *may* become available to the general public by Christmas. Originally pegged to cost $100 per unit, the OLPC XO's cost has increased to $175 but if and when it does becomes available for sale, the price will be $350 -- twice the production cost but they are hoping to sell the units for up to $525 (three times the original cost). The reason for the increased cost is to subsidize the production of OLPC XO units that will be distributed to poorer countries.

The latest prototype of the device, named the XO-1

If plans to sell the OLPC pushes through, it will be available online from a yet to be identified online retailer.

My take on this: Although the proceeds of the sale of the OLPC XO will be for a noble cause (the education of kids in poor countries), the emergence of similar products such as the Asus Eee PC, the Palm Foleo and the Via NanoBook may be a big hurdle the OLPC XO needs to overcome. The Palm Foleo and the Via NanoBook may be more expensive but if they do decide to sell these green kiddie laptops for more than $500, I'm sure a lot of people will opt to get the Foleo or the NanoBook. The Asus Eeee PC is also a dark horse in this race. Its cost (the last time I checked the Eee will start at $250) is a big factor to consider.

Personally, I wouldn't mind getting one for *my* kid but if they do decide to sell it at 3x the production cost, I'd probably have second thoughts... but then again, that's just me.

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