OLPC manufacturer to sell $200 laptop in developed countries
Quanta, the company manufacturing the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project’s XO laptops, plans to begin selling low-cost budget mobile computers for $200 later this year. According to Quanta president Michael Wang, the company plans to leverage the underlying technologies associated with OLPC’s XO laptop to produce laptop computers that are significantly less expensive than conventional laptops.
The OLPC project, which hopes to bring inexpensive Linux-based laptops to the education market in developing countries, selected Quanta (the laptop manufacturing company that produces mobile computers for HP, Dell, and Acer) to produce the individual XO laptop units. OLPC project founder Nicholas Negroponte says that OLPC has no plans to make XO laptops, which are “designed for the poorest and most remote children in the world,” available to ordinary consumers in developed countries. OLPC plans to sell the laptops in bulk to governments, which will then distribute the hardware to school children.
Quanta’s announcement will be welcomed by the throngs of technology enthusiasts in the US and elsewhere who have expressed interest in acquiring one of the OLPC’s budget-friendly laptops for personal use. Quanta plans to create a new “emerging PC” business unit to focus on establishing a new global market for low-cost computers. Although few details are available at this time regarding the software that Quanta will ship with its own XO-like laptops, it is known that the company intends to use open source software. Since virtually every element of the OLPC platform (including the unique user interface) is available under various open source licenses, Quanta could easily ship its own computers with the exact same software used on the XO.
With luck, Quanta’s increased involvement in the low-cost mobile computing market will allow the company to further decrease manufacturing costs and help the OLPC project reduce the XO’s total cost per unit. This move by Quanta could also help make modern technology more accessible to underprivileged families around the world.
Source: Ars Technica