Update: In an emailed Q&A with MediaNama, Satish Jha, President of OLPC India said that the XO laptops will be provided to schools, upper primary at some places, primary at some others, and 9th grade at some. These schools are mostly in the rural areas, and in some cases suburban areas. Most of the orders have been placed by government bodies, and a small fraction by private institutions.
About connectivity, Jha said that connectivity will be managed locally – where schools can access broadband, they may be given limited Internet connectivity. In case broadband isn’t possible, a mesh network and server based virtual net experience will be the likely environment.
The Price: For orders larger than 10,000 XOs, the price of the XO is Rs. 14,999, inclusive of all taxes, and Rs. 11,000 excluding duties in case the buyer wishes to manage duties.
Content: one of our key concerns was about the content that will be made available with the XO – whether audio, video, or in local languages. Jha said that the XO is being provided as the XO, with a couple dozen utilities and applications that come with it, and MS XP and Office to those who want it. However, “local content creation is a local responsibility, and the decision on content sourcing will have to be made by schools and the departments or governing bodies.”
Responding to a question from one of our readers Shashikant Kore on why OLPC India has sought to partner with the government or corporates instead of making the XO available in the market, Jha said:
“For a simple reason that making anything available as a retail item has its own costs and typically can run up to 45% of the final price in India. If we sell it through the channels, as we tried to understand it, XOs will sell for over rs 20,000 and that is not the price at which we can reach everyone. We would like the price to be as low as possible and currently the total cost of production and delivery is at Rs 11,000 per XO for large orders of 10,000 and more. At 100 pieces per order there is on an average an additional cost of about 15% and that is another reason we encourage bulk purchases. In any case it’s a not for profit initiatives where costs equal price.”
Original Story (April 25, 2009): 250,000, low priced, XO laptops could be making their way to India very soon, PC World reports. that three organizations – two from the government and one from the private sector, have placed orders for distribution to around 1500 schools. Satish Jha, President of OLPC India has said that the laptops will be distributed to children in suburban and rural areas starting June. We’ve contacted Satish Jha, President of OLPC India for more inputs.
This is the first set of low cost XO laptops ordered from India. In an interview with MediaNama last year, Jha had said that in order to begin shipping to India, OLPC needed an order of at least 1 million XOs. The cost of the XOs is expected to be $210, and then there is, possibly, a government duty of 10.2% on the import. (Updated above)
It’s likely that two state government organizations are involved – After having failed to convince the national government, OLPC had decided to approach state governments, particularly since education is a state subject. OLPC India had set itself a target of 3 million XOs being shipped to the country in a year.
With seven months to go, they still need orders for another 2.75 million to meet that target; 250,000 is a good start, though.
(Updated above) Is there adequate Indian language content – whether in text or audio-visual form – available for the XOs? I would be great if the Indian government, which also has the portal Sakshat, would make educational content available free on the net – in particular, free for redistribution under a creative commons non-commercial license.