OLPC laptop to be sold to the public

The One Laptop Per Child project’s XO laptop is designed primarily to be an ultra-low-cost machine for schoolchildren in developing countries, but according to a report by BBC News, the system will also become available to the general public. The machine will go on sale next year, some time after the first five million units hit countries like Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Thailand this summer.

The laptop will cost $150 at first, and its price will go down to $100 eventually. However, members of the public buying the system will have to pay double the price, which will allow one extra XO laptop to make it to the developing world. The system might not show at Best Buy or Newegg; OLPC chief connectivity officer Michalis Bletsas told BBC News that the OLPC project wants to minimize supply chain cost, and he added, “We’re discussing it with our partner eBay.” Interestingly, the OLPC folks want to connect buyers of XO systems with children in the third world to whom they’ll effectively be giving a free laptop. “[They] will get the e-mail address of the kid in the developing world that they have, in effect, sponsored.”

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