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OLPC XO receives a positive review

…from the New York Times:

In November, you’ll be able to buy a new laptop that’s spillproof, rainproof, dustproof and drop-proof. It’s fanless, it’s silent and it weighs 3.2 pounds. One battery charge will power six hours of heavy activity, or 24 hours of reading. The laptop has a built-in video camera, microphone, memory-card slot, graphics tablet, game-pad controllers and a screen that rotates into a tablet configuration.

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Want one? Check out the One Laptop Per Child XO Giving program:

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time in North America. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops—one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home.

…plus, it’s tax-deductible!

Ten dollar laptops per child?

George Kubik, president of Minnesota Futurists, sent a note regarding the One Laptop per Child project, and a related article from Fortune Magazine. The $100 laptop is currently looking like a $176 laptop. Although prices are expected to decrease in the future, the $176 laptop is distant from what was envisioned originally.

India’s HRD ministry (which has rejected the OLPC) thinks it can do better, and is soliciting proposals for a $10 alternative. Writes Mark Raby at TG Daily:

The manufacturing cost has already been scaled down to $47, reports the India Times. So far no manufacturer has agreed to the $10 price. “The cost is encouraging and we are hopeful it would come down to $10. We would also look into the possibility of some Indian company manufacturing the parts,” said a ministry official.

Will this create competition in “open source” approaches to mobile educational technologies and lead to greater innovation? I hope so, but I must also caution against “cheapening” the quality and purposeful application of education technologies. Placing such limitations on the technologies could further limit the innovative uses for the devices by children inside and beyond the classrooms they’re intended for.