$100 OLPC XO-1 laptop coming to Europe, for $400

November 14, 2008

The XO-1 laptop is coming to Europe, with Amazon obtaining the rights to sell the cheap and cheerful websites in 27 EU states as well as Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey. There’s just one catch – the $100 laptop will cost you almost $400 at the current exchange rate.

The One Laptop Per Child, or OLPC, scheme is an inspiring effort to enable children in developing countries to have access to a computer.  Every time someone in a developed country buys one of the low cost laptops, one is donated to a developing country. Basically, you not only get a laptop out of it but also a warm fuzzy feeling knowing a third world child is getting a computer.

When the scheme was started, the charitable organization expected to sell 100 million laptops. The true figure at this point is closer to 600,000, although that’s just in the U.S.. But now, according to the BBC, the XO-1 laptop is coming to Europe via Amazon Web sites, and that could be just what the scheme needs to give sales a boost.

The OLPC organization has apparently run in to some problems with distribution, and many buyers have reporting never receiving their machines. So OLPC has turned to Amazon. As part of the deal, European Amazon sites will now start selling the laptops as well as the main American site, Amazon.com.

In the U.S. the XO-1 costs around $188 (the $100 was an initial aim) but in Europe the price will be nearer to $400. In the Eurozone, it will cost 313 Euros and in the UK it will cost £268, which at current exchange rates works out to around $395.

The XO-1 is a green laptop which features a 433Mhz processor, and just 256Mb of memory. It also comes with the Linux operating system installed, although some of the models sent to developing countries have Windows XP installed after Microsoft came on board.

It’s a real shame that the OLPC scheme hasn’t really managed to succeed so far, with plenty of countries expressing an interest but few actually signing on the dotted line. Part of the reason for this is the competition from Intel’s Classmate PC and the Asus Eee PC.

Hopefully, a move into Europe will give this honorable venture the boost it clearly needs. But the price of the laptop may go against it. Even if it were £100 then the chances of success would be much higher. As it is, only the very charitable are likely to make a purchase.

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