The “$100 laptop” has been available for some time now, although the significantly price reduced computer was reserved for third-world countries and areas of the world in poverty. Well, not anymore. Now you too can own one of these machines– the exact same laptop that’s being sent to developing countries.
The machines are being developed under a “give one, get one” initiative that will start in the coming weeks by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization. For $399, one laptop will be sent overseas to countries like Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Rwanda. The other machine will be sent to the buyer.
Now I know what you’re thinking: this is the “$100 laptop,” why is it costing $399 for two? Well, the price point of the laptop still hasn’t actually reached $100 yet. Currently selling at $188 (up from the past point of $176), the machine features no moving parts and can be powered by solar power, pull-string powered chargers, or foot power.
Originally it was unknown if OLPC would be able to build enough interest in the machines to keep the production viable – they needed to sell at least three million orders. A recent ramp-up in production suggests the production has become viable, although I can’t help but wonder if part of that isn’t leading to this give one, get one initiative. OLPC representative head of software development, Walter Bender, told BBC News that the new promotion is a response to public demand: ”I don't know how many times people have added an entry in our wiki saying 'how do I get one?' or 'I'd gladly pay one for a child if I could get one.'”
This isn’t an open ended offer however. While OLPC hasn’t announced how many units will be available through this promotion (which only lasts 2 weeks), Bender says the first 25,000 orders should be filled by the end of the year. I can’t help but wonder if the machines are being made available for “give one, get one” purchase with the hope that buyers will donate both machines, however. Despite Bender’s claim that this is a response to public demand, I can’t help but wonder how many people want the green and white minimalistic machines. Most of the people who might be interested in them in the U.S. over larger competitors like HP or Dell most likely couldn’t afford to purchase two.
The “give one, get one” promotion starts November 12th and lasts for two weeks. To buy one of OLPC’s machines, visit xogiving.org or call 1-866-XOGIVING.