Oh, there's lots of excitement that OLPC is bringing back Give One, Get One for this holiday season. Amazon is selling the green machines in pairs (one for a kid in the developing world, one for yours) and the G1G1 program is going global, too.
But I'd have to agree with Chris Dawson that the bloom is off this particular last year's model.
With the introduction of the Intel Atom processor, a a 433 MHz clockspeed just sounds silly, no matter how little power it uses. In fact, although a new generation of OLPC laptop is due in 2010, the XO that will be available via Amazon has not been updated since the machine was first launched.OLPC had a really good thing going with G1G1 last year and there was huge pent-up demand for an expanded G1G1 program. Europeans demanded G1G1 and were rebuffed. Many people thought G1G1 should have been expanded as a regular thing. When I wrote about this last year, Wayans Vota, founder of OLPC News envisioned an expanded sales program as the spark for a real ecosystem of support for the XO:
Vota predicted that the North American sales will create "a strong pool of software developers and a strong pool of committed educators and parents," which would enable OLPC to "roll out a comprehensive implementation in the developing world."
Vota added that Negroponte now has the opportunity to excite developers and educators to come up with classroom lessons and experiences to really have a dramatic impact on education. According to Vota, child-focused nonprofits in the developed world would jump at the chance to buy the XO laptops for their constituents -- "in blocks of 100 to 1,000, though, not 250,000."
I'm willing to bet nothing like that has developed. Instead we get the opportunity, as Chris says, to spend "$400 on a really slow laptop for your kid."
Too little, too late and further proof that Negroponte has completely fumbled his initiative. In the global economic crisis, OLPC will be an early victim.