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$10 laptop flops, India orders 2.5 lakh OLPC laptops

By SiliconIndia  |   Thursday, 30 April 2009, 04:19 Hrs   |    24 Comments
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$10 laptop flops, India orders 2.5 lakh OLPC laptops
Bangalore: The Indian government has turned to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation to order 250,000 XO laptops, after the $10 laptop had turned a catastrophe, which was a direct challenge to the $100 laptop of the OLPC project. Satish Jha, President and CEO of OLPC India said, "The laptops are ordered for 1,500 schools and the deliveries will begin in June."

This will be the first order placed by India after the OLPC project failed to impress the then IT minister Arun Shourie in 2001. The OLPC project could not succeed in India, when it first entered the market by distributing 20 XO machines in a Maharastra village. The government shirked the project questioning its technology, the hidden costs and also cited it to be unhealthy if used for prolonged periods. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) also testified a new project, Sakshat, to provide a $10 laptop. The anticipated notebook equipped with Wi-Fi and 2GB RAM, however, turned out to be little more than a computing machine. It is just a 10 x 5-inch wide slab that stores and apparently prints distributed learning materials that can later be retrieved using a laptop.

After being rejected by the central government, the MIT's Nicholas Negroponte's OLPC project has been trying its luck with various state governments and the private sector in the hope that large corporations would donate these laptops to schools. The XO laptops are rugged, use open source computing, and are so energy efficient that they can be powered manually by a child. They have a built-in wireless, a unique dual-mode display that is readable under direct sunlight. OLPC says the software is designed for children to encourage exploration and creativity.

The OLPC has also planned to do away with the current AMD chips in the XO laptop and include the VIA C7-M, where the system memory would be enhanced to 1GB and internal storage to 4GB. However, the foundation did not reveal which version of the laptop the government has opted for.

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Reader's comments(24)
1: What is the use .How many will really use it for the good purpose.
Posted by:ravi - 11 May, 2009
2: -- announcing an impossible article by govt level and throwing out in failure by greate indian educational institutions -- it really is a black mark in indian technology side. they could have tried some usefull product atleast in $100 range with success...
Posted by:sudheesh - 09 May, 2009
3: Its good any way ..Govt should take interest some to bring it for all students & also ensure the after buying services should also continue ....
Posted by:Ranjeet - 03 May, 2009
4: can i get to know the cost of it
Posted by:meeraj - 02 May, 2009
5: ok it is fine but few days after, it will any problem who will repaired. company can giving any gurantee. if company will gives any assurence it's ok. otherways costomer facing more broblems.
Posted by:sadhu - 30 Apr, 2009
6:
hello sadhu jee vere r u , please be on earth n take an innitiative and acept whic is being done, in this world nothing is guranteed not even u..
mahesh
mahesh Replied to: sadhu - 01 May, 2009
7:
pathetic english ...
Saurabh Replied to: sadhu - 30 Apr, 2009
8: I'm happy they decided right in time to buy the best available laptops. At the same time I don't like criticizing the $10 laptop project. There is nothing wrong trying to build a better one. It may be successfull or not but they tried. Remember the NANO car. Everyone almost trashed it but it beat everyones expectaions.
Posted by:DailyReader - 30 Apr, 2009
9: This is a classic example of how creativity and innovation gets strangled in our country - even though other developed countries may not have started work on this idea, am sure that as soon as they get on it, this will become a norm there and then, India will borrow it from them as a 'best practice' or 'an obvious next step'!
Posted by:Paul - 30 Apr, 2009
10: Till now the government could not realize the importance of the OLPC laptops. only after their own endeavor crashed hard, they knew wat went into building these laptops at such a meager cost.
Posted by:piyush - 30 Apr, 2009
11:
My 2 paise... You need to involve a huge community of your stakeholders before you go build the product. At least if it going to be a path breaking project. As with any project, user participation in the design phase of the project is a critical input of the outcome... This is what happens when a big idea is not thought out completely. Go figure
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