Citing lower-than-expected sales to developing nations around the world, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization announced today that it will sell its XO laptops to people in North America this year. But this plan has a positive side-effect for underprivileged children around the world: For each laptop that OLPC sells in North America, one will be give for free to a child in a developing nation.
The program, called "Give 1, Get 1," will provide OLPC XO laptops to consumers in the United States and Canada for $399, a bit more than double the planned cost of the devices in developing nations. This price increase will allow the organization to provide a second laptop to deserving children elsewhere at no cost, and will give customers a tax deduction. The program is temporary and will run from November 12 to 26, OLPC says.
OLPC has had to come up with this creative way to jumpstart sales because it has yet to receive a single payment from governments around the world who had agreed to purchase the devices for their citizens. "I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a check written," says OLPC chairman Nicholas Negroponte, who has championed the project around the globe. "And yes, it has been a disappointment."
Interest in the XO laptop has been phenomenal in the US, especially among fans of electronic gadgets, and though the $399 price tag may seem expensive given the device's estimated cost of $188, that's about the same price as an Xbox 360 game console or Apple iPod. Plus, purchasers of the device will know they're helping others around the world. Half the cost is tax deductable as well. If you're just interested in helping others, you can donate an XO laptop today for $200.
For more information about the OLPC Give 1, Get 1 and donation programs, please visit the organization's Web site.