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.