OLPC Being Piloted In India With Reliance-ADA Group; XO Priced At $220

5 Comments

This comes as a bit of a surprise: the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) project has been launched in India, after reports of having been rejected by the Indian government last year. The first pilot of the XO laptop (in pic) is supposed to be in tribal village at Khairat (near Karjat, Maharashtra), and by March 2008, the project intends to cover more than 25,000 towns and 60,000 villages. Readers should remember that though the XO laptop has been spoken about as the “$100 laptop”, that pricing is based on large orders. Currently, it’s priced at $220 (around Rs. 8,800).

This time around, instead of approaching the government, the OLPC project has got the support of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG), which is providing Internet connectivity for the laptop, and – more importantly – has taken on the mandate of involving governments for creating a successful ecosystem for the project. It is crucial for the OLPC project to get large orders from governments in order to achieve the scale for bringing the price of the laptop down to $100…this pilot appears to be an attempt to woo the Indian government. For the Internet industry in India, anything that gets more Indian eyeballs online is a welcome – whether the OLPC project or Novatium’s NetPC. Mobile still seems to be the pervasive solution, if you ask me.

Photo by Jace, taken at the Global Voices Summit in Delhi, last December

5 Comments

Rajiv

I'm a big fan of OLPC. To think Negroponte was crazy in suggesting this idea is an understatement. To build the device and actually deploy it is nothing short of a miracle. Something to learn there for every entrepreneur.

Whehter it will benifit the children: the jury is still out. I fall in the camp which believes in the idiom of teching how to fish rather than giving the fish. I dont you can learn everything from books. You learn when you experiment. And nothing can beat OLPC in terms of hackability.

Its nothing short of a revolutionary approach. Even if millions of XO's enables one great mind of flourish, it will be worth it.

Neev

Nikhil,

Please tell me in what sense do you think mobile internet is better. The user experience on a small screen is awful. The richness that a computer / cpu of that capability can provide is not comparable. The application capability is also not comparable.

The broadband availability for the mobiles too is not very encouraging. We are nowhere near to 3G or Wimax in India. Overseas too 3G has been a flop and it is PC broadband that is successful.

Nikhil

Not sure that's entirely true — Reliance's mandate is to get the government involved, remember. I wouldn't necessarily call implementation of OLPC "progress" – would rather focus on building schools and employing teachers first. $100 per child is a very large expense, so I prefer the one-PC-per-teacher option.

Rajiv

Reminds you of the point that progress happens in India in spite of the government! Free market wins again.

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