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OLPC announces production delays for XO laptop

When the non-profit group One Laptop per Child Foundation first announced it intended to build an ultra-low cost laptop for children in developing nations, the plan struck a chord with many fans of technology. The target price for what came to be known as the XO Laptop was $100.

Recently price increases have forced the string-pulley powered XO laptop from the originally planned $100 price tag to a cost of $175. Shortly after the first price increase the One Laptop per Child Foundation announced another price increase bringing the planned $100 laptop to a price of $188. With the last price increase to $188, the foundation also announced that prices for the XO laptop would vary by country.

Now, Yahoo! News is reporting that production of the XO laptop has been delayed. The XO was supposed to head to manufacturing in a Chinese plant in October, which didn’t happen. Production is now reportedly scheduled to begin on November 12 according to Mary Lou Jepsen, CTO for the One Laptop per Child Foundation.

Jepsen told Reuters, “We had some last-minute bugs. We've resolved them." The foundation had expected to produce 100,000 XO laptops this year. This delay will make meeting shipment deadlines to Peru and Uruguay, the first countries to order the XO difficult.

The delay will also make it difficult to get enough laptops to the United States for the planned Give 1 Get 1 promotion over the holidays were you could buy an XO Laptop for $400 and provide a second machine to a child overseas. The foundation will begin accepting orders for the XO Laptop on November 12.
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RE: Losing the game?
By Grigi on 10/26/2007 5:10:08 AM , Rating: 2
Some countries you mentioned such as Zimbabwe definitely does need a revolution, it is really sad how far they have fallen under Mugabe.
But I think the South-American countries you mentioned is ideal for this. I have been to Brazil for a while, and the situation there is somewhat like here in South Africa.

The middle class is getting good education, and the lower class is getting some mediocre education. On the lower class the most significant improvement in education is to make sure that the kids have the nutrients needed to grow and concentrate (Their families are a bit poor, or they might have less than ideal parents). So the OLPC does not make so much sense there. But their middle-class students would definitely benefit from having computers at school.

I went to a middle class government school, and we were provided the basics, books,stationary, reasonable teachers. But the school wanted to better itself, so by doing LOTS & LOTS of fund raising, they managed to buy computers, hire extra computer-science teachers, hale that little bit of money to just give us, the students that extra edge.

Funny thing is the apparent conversion rate from Matric(Finishing high school) to graduates are in the region of 2-3%, but from my school and another handful of schools in the region that did similar tactics, there is a graduate conversion rate of 20-30%. This tenfold increase was only because we had slightly better tools to develop our minds.

So I really do think that providing the XO to students in the middle-class would be able to help them tremendously.


RE: Losing the game?
By TomZ on 10/26/2007 9:31:16 AM , Rating: 1
But your school didn't give a laptop to each child, did they? Instead they funded computers and placed them in the school and hired more teachers. So I don't see how you can say that the success your school saw gives you an indication that OLPC would give you the same result, since it's an entirely different situation.

I think that if anything, your situation potentially exactly disproves OLPC. In other words, a relatively small incremental amount of resources applied to giving the school better equipment and more teachers appears to have generated a very large net result. If you instead applied those same resources to giving kids cheap laptops, you would lose the benefits you saw, in exchange for some unproven/unknown benefit due to the OLPC program.


RE: Losing the game?
By Ringold on 10/26/2007 10:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's also worth pointing out that every scientist and engineer at the vanguard of their respective specialized fields gained their elite training and knowledge not by mindlessly accessing Wikipedia but by doing something scarcely done in universities today -- reading textbooks, using the library, and using hand-powered slide rule. Never before in history has education required this kind of access to information.

Following up on your teachers point, I'm not sure how far I am willing to defend this idea but for at least some courses in developing worlds so long as teacher training is sufficient none may be needed beyond a chalk board. If Mugabe had me at gun point and told me to teach some high school kids some basic econ, I could do it. If I myself had a textbook, or even was just allowed to borrow one long enough to take some notes, I could easily do it. No mountain of textbooks needed such as in our schools, which get sent home to unappreciative children and suffer the damage of neglect despite scarce use. Material also doesn't change much, so years could pass between updating course material.

At any rate, I see room for massive amounts of parsimony in education, at least by looking at our own system and how our private schools save mountains of cash while producing comparable results to public ones.

Again, I dont care to defend all of that too heavily, but an idea.


"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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