Things aren’t going terribly well for the “One Laptop Per Child” project, reports The Wall Street Journal. The project, which started as a noble effort to educate the children of poor nations via $100 laptops computers, has run into stiff competition from the likes of Intel (INTC), which is using its overseas sales force to aggressively push its Classmate device, which sells for between $230 and $300 dollars.
What really caught my eye in the piece was the fact that during the first two days of the OLPC’s promotional effort — buy one and give one laptop — nearly 45,000 devices were ordered, mostly from the U.S. That clearly indicates that OLPC has elicited a lot of interest amongst the PC-toting masses. My anecdotal observation is backed by recent search trends.
And why not? Many of the laptops already on the market are now dubbed “notebooks” or “portable computers.” You can’t put them in your lap, because they give off more than enough heat to keep a New Yorker warm on a cold, brisk winter evening and are heavy enough to cause serious lumbar damage. And by golly, if you do decide to buy a lightweight machine, then your bank account is left feeling like an anorexic. A nation of laptop-totting workaholics needs something…better.This interest in OLPC can be loosely explained by buyers’ desire for a simpler, lighter, and less complicated, computing experience that offers connectivity and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. This is good news for device makers like Nokia (NOK) and Asus, both of whom recently started selling cheap Internet-connected devices.