Space Ramblings

100 dollar laptop billion dollar boondogle

The famed $100 ‘One Laptop per Child’ has a cost that keeps on rising way beyond the $100 mark, with the new price set at $176, although continued production might one day see the $100 laptop actually cost $100.

If you run the education department of a third world country, and you’re intrigued by the prospect of a ruggedized, wireless, relatively modern laptop computer for the underprivileged students of your country, the cost of the $100 laptop has gone up – to $176, putting it not too far from the cost of its biggest competitor, the Intel Classmate PC.

Really is this an actual surprise to anyone? How many companies hit their actual price target numbers? How many private organizations and government sponsored groups? At least the Pentagon isn’t construction the hundred dollar laptop or it would be costing 2000 dollars by now.

Much as I hate to agree with Bill Gates about anything but the hundred dollar laptop project never made any sense. It was a vanity project intended to piggyback on a trendy idea. A hundred dollar laptop sounded neat… no matter how absurd the whole thing was. Now we’re set to have cheaper laptops available to students and this without a massive fundraising campaign and accompanying publicity. John Negroponte is a good man, but he simply has no clue about tech and a cheap laptop in Africa will rarely end up in the hands of children, but will become just another commodity for families on the borderline of poverty.

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