OLPC to offer two-packs to jump start sales

OLPC to offer two-packs to jump start sales

Summary: The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is looking to buy one, give one promotion to boost adoption rates and bring its XO laptop to the U.S.

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TOPICS: Laptops
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The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is looking to buy one, give one promotion to boost adoption rates and bring its XO laptop to the U.S.

According to the OLPC site, a "Give 1 Get 1" program will kick off on Nov. 12. Under this arrangement, you can buy two XO laptops for $399. One laptop will go to a developing nation and the other will be sent to you (Techmeme has more). OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte described the deal:

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops—one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home. If you're interested in Give 1 Get 1, we'll be happy to send you a reminder email. Just sign up in the box to the left and you'll receive your reminder prior to the November 12 launch date.

The move will effectively bring XO laptops to the U.S. and create a way to finance the OLPC effort abroad. And that financing will be necessary considering the cost of the XO laptop is double the original $100 target. The Wall Street Journal has been briefed on the Nov. 12 promotion.

A few observations:

  • The OLPC effort (all resources) has tread lightly when it comes to the U.S. market. But this "buy one, give one" concept could quickly gain momentum. For what is a relatively small sum, a U.S. consumer can get a tax deduction and an inexpensive laptop.
  • Linux could get some early converts. If the OLPC lives up to its advance billing many folks will get exposed to Linux, the OLPC operating system of choice, at an early age.
  • The buy one, give one promotion could get production levels up quickly. That ramp will be necessary to lower costs. Another thread to ponder: Is the OLPC ready to ramp up production quickly.
  • I suspect the XO will garner a sales pop. If people are going to go bonkers over a $150 laptop from an unproven company the OLPC is likely to find some demand. The XO looks better and should in theory get to your doorstep.

Topic: Laptops

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20 comments
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  • OLPC Production

    I don;t think OLPC is ready for the massive amounts of pent-up American demand for XO laptops. Not with XO production delayed yet again: http://www.olpcnews.com/hardware/production/xo_laptop_production_delay.html
    OLPC_News
  • RE: OLPC to offer two-packs to jump start sales

    So instead of 2 recycled XP notebooks (eBay) running an OS the world uses that actually get sent to the poor, they only get one crappy toy laptop with Linux. Gee the poor really get to choose don't they?

    And you get to waste so much more resources this way as well.

    If only someone could rein in NN's ego and look at the problem to find a recyclable and sustainable solution.

    Oh and what happened to the $100 laptop?

    Never mind. We really didn't want the poor to have apps and games or be able to transfer their skills to the wider world
    tonymcs@...
    • Will you relax?

      At least somebody's trying, got to give them props for that.

      1. The OLPC is intended as a semi-rugidized laptop that can operate in very harsh conditions, with almost 0 infrastructure support. Unlike an XP machine off e-bay which would be useless without reliable electricity, and ignoring the fact there's *0* communication infrastructure where it would be headed.

      2. Given that this is an untested product in the real world, having a bunch of people using them who are actually near enough to reach easily, have skills, etc, this is no bad idea. A simple way to find whatever bugs remain--and any 1.0 product will have lots of bugs...

      3. Linux isn't bad, especially if you have nothing else. So give the snarl a rest already!
      wolf_z
    • Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?

      I don't see you stepping up and giving millions of dollars worth of computers to third world nations. Until you are contributing as much as OLPC is to society why don't you do us all a favor and stfu.
      jasonp@...
    • Who are you? Michael Dell?

      Why don't people get it, this is a laptop designed to handle the conditions of the third world, an old XP laptop off eBay would last about a week under the conditions that these laptops are going to be subjected to.

      BTW, we canceled a Dell order after Michael had his hissy fit and ordered HPs instead, I can't justify ordering from a heartless B*****D.
      persia
  • TLPC? (nt)

    ;)
    John Zern
  • Huh? in the US? compete with Wal-Mart?

    Puzzling! They're going to try to compete with Wal-Mart in the USA for low-end PCs? All you need is a PC and VirtualBox and you can run OLPC's operating system. I thought OLPC was for the developing world where Wal-Mart doesn't sell PCs.

    I test drove OLPC in a virtual machine and was not sure what it was. Seems aimed at small children who would quickly outgrow it, but I couldn't find a way to switch to real Linux.
    scott1329
    • Doubt it

      I think they're trying to fund their project so they can actually get these PCs out to the kids who need them.

      Yes the OLPC is for kids in developing nations, but the price is over their initial goal and probably out of the reach of most developing nations. Selling these retail first satisfies those who really want one and, second, helps lower the cost (to zero, apparently) for the original benefactors. Nothing wrong with that, except the price point is too close to competing machines that are much more powerful, and this might reduce the number of units they can sell.

      "I couldn't find a way to switch to real Linux."

      <sarcasm>
      You mean what they're running is a fake Linux? I didn't know it came with Windows.
      </sarcasm>

      Seriosly, it is running a real Linux. What's different is that this version is tailored to the PC - only the needed packages are installed - with a custom-built window manager and desktop. It won't do all the things your Wal-Mart laptop is capable of doing because the needed drivers and packages simply aren't there. But it's Linux and as long as one can get to a shell prompt, one can install the WM and wallpaper of choice and make it look like any other version of Linux.
      Larry the Security Guy
    • Selling in US as a means to fund giveaways overseas...

      I'm not sure why this is such a difficult concept to grasp. Companies do this kind of thing every single day... "x% of proceeds will go to support..." Sometimes the money goes overseas, sometimes it goes to local charities, sometimes it goes directly to a needy individual. We should be standing up and appluauding all efforts to reach out to these third world countries and bring them into the 21st century. Instead about all I seem to hear are complaints from people who are doing nothing but sitting on their @ss watching the divide between "civilized" and "third world" countries expand. It's a shame that society has gotten so selfish that attempts to help others are so often looked upon as, at best, a waste of time.
      jasonp@...
  • Hands-on with the OLPC

    I've had several opportunities to play with the OLPC and while I was a skeptic at first, I'll admit I am completely sold.

    It's an amazingly rugged, superbly-designed computing appliance that is, even at such an early stage, also surprisingly reliable.

    As in most such "appliances", what software it runs or operating system it requires is far less important than the functions it provides. So no, it's not a muscular personal computer designed to run operating systems that themselves consume more CPU cycles than most applications.

    Rather, it's a ruggedized application platform created specifically to require little existing infrastructure, support peer-to-peer networking, and to provide robust communications tools (web-browser, email client, etc.) as well as educational applications, multimedia playback, etc.

    Most importantly, I am now convinced the OLPC will allow the "Other Two Billion" to explore the World and their place in it.

    In terms of engineering, the one thing that completely blew me away was the OLPC's ability to create an ad-hoc wireless mesh network with any local peers, allowing them to discover, meet and communicate with each other.

    On Saturday, we fired one up in Newton, MA--a close suburb of Boston and seven or so miles from MIT--and immediately after booting, it identified more than fifteen other "green tops" in the neighborhood (as well as a multitude of wireless access points) providing us with an opportunity to become "friends" with them and engage in chat, shared applications, game-playing and other pursuits.

    I think the thing that made this so startling was the sensitivity of its wireless transceiver which was simply amazing.

    From my home, I can reliably see three or four other wireless access points and with a decent yagi antenna, a handful more down the hill towards Waltham.

    But the OLPC swiftly discovered more than fifteen peers and twenty other access points which to my mind implies its range has to be a mile or more.

    And while we didn't test it, I believe the OLPC also allows one or more connected peers to act as gateways, providing other members of the mesh access to their Internet connections.
    raisch@...
  • Nobody in Amercia wants a lame computer ...

    ... that can't run their favorite programs and games.

    The OLPC XO is based upon a minimalist approach to computing for those that have little or no access to information, no access to printed material, no access to educational materials, and no access to the Internet.

    Other than the satisfaction of helping a kid in the Third-World, the only compelling reason for an American to spend $400 on an XO is the tax deduction they get for the second computer they are donating to education overseas through OLPC foundation.

    Beyond that, for $300, anyone can buy a brand new fully-functional system (running Vista, no less). Or they can buy a used computer and load Linux on it for free.
    M Wagner
  • The main problem with OLPC laptops...

    ... is that they are not provided with Windows pre-installed, and replacing Linux with Windows is probably impossible.

    In the midst of a frightening jungle or a grudgingly fertile plain or a hostile desert, one wouldn't wish to add to his problems with Linux. Particularly when one is a small child.

    The politicians, however callous, can see that much.

    Will no one at OLPC have concern for the children?!
    Anton Philidor
    • I'm starting to question

      your ability to be impartial. You seem to be more and more a M$hill. Your "one liners" also make it look like some kid has gotten hold of your login . . .
      Roger Ramjet
      • Responding in kind.

        The post was mainly in response to (quoting):

        "Linux could get some early converts. If the OLPC lives up to its advance billing many folks will get exposed to Linux, the OLPC operating system of choice, at an early age."

        As an advantage of the OLPC program, this is Linux shilling.


        The implicit point is that politicians do have their priorities and views of worthwhile uses of money available to them. Perhaps not ordering the OLPC laptop is an unstated request for other monies to purchase them. And the OLPC program is responding.

        Providing children with a computer is beneficial though not essential. But it's subject to all the same factors that any other public effort has been / is / will be affected by.
        Anton Philidor
        • Tone down the bluster

          ["Linux could get some early converts. If the OLPC lives up to its advance billing many folks will get exposed to Linux, the OLPC operating system of choice, at an early age."

          As an advantage of the OLPC program, this is Linux shilling.]

          I don't see it. The OLPC program chose Linux a long time ago, and now that the laptop exists - it gives kids "exposure" to Linux.

          Your contrary "Just use Windoze" schpeel is something a child would say. I am amazed that you stoop to it.

          [The implicit point is that politicians do have their priorities and views of worthwhile uses of money available to them. Perhaps not ordering the OLPC laptop is an unstated request for other monies to purchase them. And the OLPC program is responding.]

          How some corrupt African government spends its (unearned) foreign aid money is not worth considering. Just what country in the world would spend 100(200) bucks on every kid? Most governments would rather see LESS kids to feed - then be interested in their well being.

          [Providing children with a computer is beneficial though not essential. But it's subject to all the same factors that any other public effort has been / is / will be affected by.]

          So true.
          Roger Ramjet
          • Advantage

            The observation in the Comment says that being exposed to Linux is an advantage to children. So in response I observed that being able to run Windows is an advantage children want.

            These are equivalent statements, each as much shilling as the other. When I point that out, you write "I don't see it."


            But you do see what to me is a subtler point about politicians and the complexity of doing good when others are seeking advantage.


            Sorry, Roger, but I think you have a blind spot.
            Anton Philidor
          • How many children in third world countries...

            do you know saying "I want Windows"? If you answered anything but zero then I guess we know how believable you are...
            jasonp@...
          • Pirated copies of Windows are widespread.

            A recent reference here was in the response to a Russian plan to supply Linux to schools. Some Russian posters observed that computers shipped with other operating systems often end with a pirated copy of Windows.

            Russia is far from a third world country, but this indicates Windows is widely known and approved. Other recent stories from China and, I think, Africa have confirmed the point.
            The Microsoft brand was found by at least one research orgnization to be the best known and valued in the world.

            I think it likely that, if it were possible, pirated copies of Windows would replace Linux in third world countries sometimes, maybe often.
            Anton Philidor
        • Why should anyone...

          reward companies found guilty of illegally leveraging monopoly power to harm consumers? We're all well aware of where you sit on the issue...companies should never be held to account for illegal activity unless that activity harmed Microsoft in some way...but most of us don't believe in rewarding illegal behavior.
          jasonp@...
  • here is a better ideea

    people should have the choice to buy an OLPC and donate $200 to OSS companies rather than shipping the laptop overseas.
    Then the OSS company will fund Linux projects and would load the finished product on laptops bought on ebay and ship it overseas.
    This way Linux will improve, and a more powerfull computer loaded with excelent Linux apps would reach the third world.
    Linux Geek