Sub $100 Laptop – Impossible?

One Laptop Per Child is the name of the program that aims at building a $100 laptop. The design is done by MIT Media Laboratory while Taiwan based Quanta Computers will do manufacturing. The initiative is currently aimed at third world countries and educational uses.

The laptop runs on a 366 Mhz AMD processor, Linux OS, and has a 802.11b/g wireless chipset which enables browsing internet and running web applications. The latter is especially important since the laptop doesn’t have a hard drive and goes about with 512MB flash memory.

IDG News reports that the first laptops will roll off production lines by the end of this year.

The company expects to ship 5 million to 10 million of the laptops next year, and said orders to Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, and Thailand have already been confirmed.

While the first laptops will certainly go to schools in Africa and South America I fully expect to see them in Sharper Image, Discovery and Kids-R-Us stores here in the US once the production kicks in at full capacity. This is also inevitably going to affect prices on all lower end laptops including brands like Dell and HP.

So, a sub- $100 laptop sometime next year, why not?


Read more about One Laptop Per Child program at their web site

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3 Responses to “Sub $100 Laptop – Impossible?”

  1. 1 Scott Nov 4th, 2006 at 4:41 am

    I don’t think they’ll ever hit the developed world at the price they claimed to be.

    While OLPC has been a “hot” thing lately, and the prototype is “almost there” after many years of development, a friend of mine in Taiwan, who worked in a chip company that are responsible for OLPC’s wireless chipsets, said that even the production cost is a bit more than $100. Let along all the development cost.

    Sure. I would love to have a $100 laptop. Especially one with a hand crank so you can use it on a long haul flight. However it is more likely that the developed world needs to pay $200 a lappy to supplement the kids in those countries who really need them.

  2. 2 probargainhunter Nov 4th, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    I work for a company that manufactures wireless radios. They got a really big 5-year contract last year. From what I know they signed it at per-radio price lower than the cost to make it.

    Now a year later they opened another plant, increased the volume (thanks to other contracts as well) and are making money. I think something similar will happen with OLPC. As the production volume goes up the costs should go stumbling down. We are talking about millions of units here!

    According to the hand crank doesn’t come standard any longer (the picture is one of an earlier prototype). This is a sure sign that they are trying to reduce costs.

  3. 3 probargainhunter Nov 21st, 2006 at 8:11 am

    An interesting article on the subject was recently published by MSN Money Central:

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