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OLPC India Now Targets 1M XOs In 2010; Negroponte Writes About $35 Tablet

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Looks like the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project didn’t quite meet its rather massive target of 3 million laptops in 365 days, set back in November 2008: OLPC India head Satish Jha tells the Hindu that they’re targeting 1 million for 2010. Apparently, orders for 150,000 XO laptops have been placed by Kerala, and 350,000 by the Gujarat government, but in total, only 2000 units have been sold in the country. So there’s a difference between ‘orders being placed’, and XO’s being purchased. Last year, Jha had told MediaNama that orders for 250,000 XOs had been placed by Indian state governments. OLPC primarily targets governments and corporates as direct buyers for purchasing the device, since retailing adds significantly to cost.

Interestingly, Nicholas Negroponte, founder for the OLPC Foundation wrote an open letter to the Indian government, offering India with free and open access to all their technology, willing to collaborate. Remember that India had recently showcased a tablet which can cost as low as $35, but as with previous such announcements, not many had got their hands on it yet, and strangely enough, not many tech journalists I know have seen or tried the device. The secrecy around the device obviously makes one rather suspicious, particularly given the fact that the $10 “laptop” which was unveiled earlier turned out to be nothing more than a USB drive.

Negroponte’s open letter reads a little like a pitch, using the opportunity to highlight what the foundation is trying to do with the OLPC – focus on primary school children; constructionism, not rote, and don’t make a device for consumption, but creation; let it be rugged, low on power consumption, fun, inexpensive, but not cheap. But it also offers India full access to OLPCs technology, free of cost.


Perhaps its time that India, photographs not-withstanding, quelled scepticism and proved that they indeed have a tablet that may at some time cost $35. The world has apparently already stopped taking this seriously.

Read Negroponte’s open letter here.

India Government Develops $35 Tablet; What Can It Do? Features, How It Was Built
Updated: India Places Orders For 250,000 XO Laptops
The $10 Laptop: A Myth

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  • amit

    Mr. Reporter,
    Have you done any homework, before writing this article.
    OLPC is already based on open source technology so now what do you mean by "But it also offers India full access to OLPCs technology, free of cost".
    OLPC is based on Sugar platform and that is open source for everyone even for you.
    Please don't give undue favor to these thefts, who are trying to selling a device of $50 for $300 to Indian government.

    • @Amit OLPC is the organization and initiative name, AFAIK. They have produced a piece of hardware called XO, and some software, out of which the central UI / desktop / launcher / framework is Sugar. Sugar is indeed opensource, but AFAIK, XO i.e. the hardware specifications are not. I'd rather interpret Mr.N's offer to give India full access to OLPC technology for free, is in regards to XO.
      IMHO, XO does have some key technologies there, which were undoubtedly bleeding-edge back when they were developed few years back, and some of them continue to be quite significant, from robustness and low power-consumption point of view. Access to such technology for free, is valuable in many ways.
      I have no alliance or relationship with OLPC, and only wanted to point out the fact that the article need not be inaccurate.

      • amit pundit

        @ banibrata have you every tried any other hardware device than XO. If you had done little research on different variant available in Indian and china market, you will get to know how bad designed is this XO.
        You are a Indian and should not support someone who is trying to loot it.
        Do you know how much money they are asking Indian government to implement OLPC project in India?

  • India should stay away from Negroponte's fancy and expensive dreams. India's experiment with Negroponte's another child, Media Labs, hasn't been a shining success.

  • prakash

    Forget one laptop per child. Lets focus on how to extend access to basic education to financially challenged families